Living with Climate Change: The Polar Vortex

Wed, 13 Apr 2022 16:00:00 GMT

A live webcast will be streamed at 12:00 PM EDT at

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing series on strategies, policies, and programs preparing communities around the country for four major climate threats: polar vortices, sea level rise, wildfires, and extreme heat. Experts and practitioners will highlight the unique challenges these climate threats present along with strategies to overcome them.

The polar vortex is an area of low-pressure, frigid air that usually exists around the North Pole. The polar vortex is held in place by the Earth’s rotation and temperature differences between the Arctic and mid-latitudes. Changes in temperature differences can make the polar vortex expand to more southern latitudes. While this phenomenon occurs naturally, climate change is expected to impact the frequency and severity of polar vortex events. Communities must consider adaptation strategies to avoid blackouts and improve overall home energy efficiency, as loss of power when temperatures are so low can become deadly—246 people died during the Texas polar vortex freeze in 2021, many from hypothermia.

Panelists will discuss the science behind the polar vortex and how the energy grid and other critical infrastructure can be made resilient to this threat.

  • Jennifer Francis, Acting Deputy Director and Senior Scientist, Woodwell Climate Research Center
  • Megan Levy, Resilience Strategist & Energy Assurance Coordinator, Office of Energy Innovation, Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
  • Michael Gartman, Manager, Carbon-Free Buildings, RMI

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