D.C.’s urban heat island effect and tips on how to be ‘weather-smart’ when it comes to the polar vortex


GFS Model simulation of the polar vortex at 7 p.m. ET Monday, January 6 (WeatherBell.com)

The mercury this Friday and discussion surrounding climate change heated up during a White House-moderated Google+ Hangout on the polar vortex.

Climate scientists and leading meteorologists, including Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow, shared their tips for the public on how to be “weather-smart” and dispelled some myths about the recent cold snap (and why it actually hasn’t been more extreme than past years).

If you live in the northwest suburbs surrounding D.C. there is a reason besides the difference in elevation that you are colder than your friends in the city.

The urban heat island effect refers to warming caused by asphalt and concrete as Samenow explains here:

Jason Samenow of Capital Weather Gang sat down for a White House-moderated chat to discuss the science of weather extremes and what it means for DC residents. (Casey Capachi/White House)

The social media storm surrounding all things #polarvortex made the weather system, well-known by meteorologists, go viral. Panelists including Marshall Shepherd (American Meteorological  Society), Stephanie Abrams (The Weather Channel) and Bernadette Woods (Climate Central) weighed in on why they think #polarvortex got picked up by the public.

Here’s why the polar vortex is likely not coming to get you:

The social media storm surrounding all things #polarvortex made the weather system, well-known by meteorologists, go viral. A White House-moderated Google+ Hangout with Capital Weather Gang's Jason Samenow and other climate experts including Marshall Shepherd (American Meteorological Society), Stephanie Abrams (The Weather Channel) and Bernadette Woods (Climate Central) weighed in on why they think #polarvortex got picked up by the public. (Casey Capachi/White House)

You can watch the full Google+Hangout at whitehouse.gov here.

See also: What You Missed in We the Geeks: “Weather is Your Mood and Climate is Your Personality” – from the White House blog

Casey Capachi is a video and web producer for The Washington Post.
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Brian Jackson · January 12, 2014