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Stratospheric warming may mean mid-February cold snap

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Researchers working in the Soudan Mine near Tower, Minn., have discovered a strong correlation between cosmic rays and temperatures in the stratosphere. This research showed that sudden increases in cosmic radiation during the winter corresponded to rapid changes in stratospheric temperatures.

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It has been known for years that Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) occurs, but it was always based on balloon or satellite data.

SSW events tend to generate strong surface high-pressure systems near the North Pole that gradually move into the mid-latitudes, leading to strong arctic outbreaks in our area.

If cosmic rays could be used to see a SSW coming, it would give more lead time to the possibility of a severe cold snap. A SSW occurred in the past week, which may lead to bitterly cold weather moving into our area around the middle of February.

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