logo

Video encyclopedia

Polar vortex

1:45

Polar Vortex explained in under 120 seconds

2:02

What is the Polar Vortex

1:17

2019 Cyclone #1 Toy Hauler In The Industry Polar Vortex Feature with A.J. Jones

0:53

Polar Vortex and the Bomb Cyclone Explained

0:48

'Bomb cyclone' to hit US east coast ahead of polar vortex

A polar vortex is an upper-level low-pressure area lying near one of the Earth's poles. There are two polar vortices in the Earth's atmosphere, overlying the North and South Poles. Each polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale, low-pressure zone less than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) in diameter, that rotates counter-clockwise at the North Pole and clockwise at the South Pole, i.e., both polar vortices rotate eastward around the poles. As with other cyclones, their rotation is driven by the Coriolis effect. The bases of the two polar vortices are located in the middle and upper troposphere and extend into the stratosphere. Beneath that lies a large mass of cold, dense Arctic air.
  • History 

  • Duration and power 

  • Climate change 

  • Outside Earth