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Records for heat and records for cold: February 2021, a month turned upside down

Although at a global level the month of February has been in the historical average, the month has been marked by extreme contrasts. Temperatures have been much colder than average in North America and Siberia (the biggest anomaly in the last six years).

While parts of Europe, the Arctic itself and Asia have had higher than normal temperatures such as the heat record for a month of February in Lyon and 21.9º (and in many other areas of France) or 16.9º C in Sweden. Thermometers also shot up in Poland or Slovakia.

Furthermore, the weather in Europe has been marked by contrasts, because the weeks prior to this winter “heat wave” were very cold. Many countries went from a historical snowy warm temperatures like Greece, and on the contrary, countries like Norway spent a month with temperatures well below normal and then reached very high temperatures with the change of atmospheric situation.

As Europe basked in the sun, the southern United States faced a historic snowfall and cold snap, with power outages for days.

In contrast, the Arctic, Greenland and Canada recorded higher than average temperatures.

This is explained by the ripples in the jet stream, caused by a weak polar vortex, which instead of retaining the cold air at the North Pole allowed the cold air to “escape” at low latitudes.

In the southern hemisphere temperatures were often below the historical average.

Far from questioning the global warming trend, these data confirm the historical series. In addition, the extremes that we have been able to observe and the disturbances in the jet stream are, according to a part of the scientific community, one of the effects that can be expected from climate change.

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