Everything You Need to Know about the Polar Vortex Collapse

The Polar Vortex is here once again! What is a Polar Vortex? A polar vortex is a persistent, large-scale, upper-level low-pressure area, less than 1,000 kilometers in diameter, that rotates counter-clockwise at the North Pole and, like Australian toilets, clockwise at the South Pole. The vortices weaken and strengthen from year to year regardless of what Al Gore does. Like the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” and your Wisconsin uncle Bill’s yearly visit, these cyclones of suck head South and terrorize us normal Americans. I’m not sure Canadians even realize how much colder it is, or maybe the world doesn’t seem to care about the plight of those Ice Walkers. Listed below is everything you need to know about the Polar Vortex Collapse.

What are Polar Vortexes and why do they form?

Why does a Polar Vortex form? Contrary to popular belief the current polar vortex is not the death flair of 2020 or the ushering in of the new suck that is 2021, it has nothing to do with a subspecies of human “mutant” that has the ability to control weather, and it isn’t Mother Nature’s pee-pee slap to humans for all the plastic straws in the Pacific. It forms when the cyclone-ish pressure system at the poles weaken and migrate south “bending” the jetstream into a Van Gough-like flurry of artsy streamlines.

Polar Vortex Jetstream

Famous Polar Vortex Collapses

We know from historical and geographical evidence that extreme Polar Vortexes go back at least to the time of the Babylonians. Ancient Assyrian and Babylonian hieroglyphs talk of occasional polar bears running about Mesopotamia and the Euphrates freezing up. Carbon dated evidence of the same time appear to line up with similar stories from the Indus Valley civilizations and early Chinese records. Legends have it that the first Chinese king Yu the great after cutting a mountain ridge with a divine battle-axe to control flooding of the Yangzi tamed the Polar Vortex by gifting fire to man.

While global warming has made most Polar Vortex collapses milder than usual they can sometimes be a way of violently correcting everything wrong with the environment. For instance, when Western Europe and America began rapidly industrializing in the 19th century, the world began seeing some of the most violent Polar Vortex Collapses to correct for the pollution. Luckily for most of history, many of the extreme jet streams reached south in less populated unimportant areas like the Pacific Ocean or Eastern Europe.

1887 Polar Vortex: Colorized: The Ice Wall reached as far south as Giza
1908 Colorized: The Polar Vortex Ice Wall reached as far south as Giza

1908 saw one of the largest Polar Vortex collapses in recorded weather history. The jet streams were so extreme and massive that they created a massive ice wall that reached as far south of Egypt reversing the flow of the Nile and flooding millions up stream. Ever since, the yearly ice wall has not even reached the Mediterranean.

Don’t Try to Conquer Moscow!

The number 1 thing NOT to do during a Polar Vortex is invading Russia. No matter how strong your lust for a 1000 Year Reich is or your desire to compel Tsar Alexander to cease trading with British merchants through proxies, you should not try it. Even if Moscow or the Caucus oil fields aren’t hit by the unpredictable jet streams, something in your tediously long and fragile supply line will be.

You can’t escape to Florida

Yes the climate will potentially be more mild in Florida. However, there will be a few secondary affects which make it inhospitable. First, Florida will receive an unseasonable freeze which will destroy all Orange crops. Because Florida has been ignoring top economic advise for years, their collapsing Orange based economy will create enough immediate extreme poverty to cause wide spread rioting and looting as far North as Atlanta. This is why many Orange tycoons have a second Polar Vortex home North of the Mason Dixon line or south on a private island in the Caribbean.

Hungry Starving Gator from the 1996 Polar Vortex Collapse
Hungry Starving Gator from the 1996 Polar Vortex Collapse

The second reason Florida is not safe is far more dire. All of the warm weather birds will fly further south which results in the gators being very hungry. I don’t have to go into much more detail on that one.

Gasoline Freezes at -70°F (-57°C)

In a large swath of the polar vortex, temperatures can plummet well below -70°F which can damage your car and immobilize you in a dangerous environment. Just because it’s -70°F out however doesn’t mean you can’t drive. Your engine does produce enough heat to warm itself just enough and it takes some time for your gasoline to freeze. If you have a heated garage, then just keep your shopping trips to under two hours to be safe and do not travel more than fifteen minutes away from your home. In case of a power outage, it is also important to stock wood and coal to keep warm instead of liquid fuel. However, if properly stored, liquid fuel can supplement during the beginning and end of the vortex.

Maybe you are prepared to ride out the vortex until February and don’t need your car. You still can’t ignore this fact. Enough expansion in the fuel tank from gasoline freezing can cause serious damage to a vehicle which will cost a lot of money in the spring to repair. If it is only expected to dip below that temperature (Watch the weather!) periodically at night you can just open up your fuel tank so that the gas can expand and contract without causing serious damage. If you are cautious like me, you can drain all fuel from your vehicle before the vortex hits or surround your vehicle with space heaters in a garage. One way to guard your vehicle is to run it every few hours to heat up the engine. Be careful! If you do this in your garage, be sure to equip full scuba gear to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Do not go in the eye!

In the eye of the vortex, there is no escape. Even if you have access to a Royal Guard helicopter which is special lined to keep her majesty warm and toasty, you cannot even fly through the eye of the vortex. Air straight from the stratosphere is directly pumped down to the ground so quickly that anything will instantaneously freeze. This isn’t the same freeze warning with your car when you have a few hours before it may freeze. This is instantly deadly.

In the Vortex’s eye, your fuel lines will freeze in under a minute as if they were exposed to depressurized shaving cream. You can’t walk through it. You can’t drive through it. You can’t even fly through it without your vehicle, plane, or even hypersonic cruise missile crashing and freezing the passengers from exposure. The best course of action is to find an insulated enclosure and burn solid fuel safely until the eye passes over.

Wim Hof must be Feared

In the heart of the vortex there is one creature that emerges hunting for prey. In times of extreme cold, The Iceman himself, Wim Hof comes to feast on unsuspecting victims. Usually living underneath the polar icecaps or on top of Mount Everest, Wim Hof can only live in cold environments. Because most vegetation cannot exist in such extreme environments, he hunts what food he can find. This is why Everest and even Kilimanjaro to this day is so dangerous without a guide who knows how to track and avoid Wim Hof.

Wim Hof Hibernating in an icy compartment
Wim Hof Hibernating in an icy compartment
Aad Villerius (www.flickr.com/photos/daaynos ) from OudBeijerland, Netherlands., CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia CommonsDataBase Center for Life Science (DBCLS)

During the Polar Vortex, it is finally cold enough for Wim Hof to walk among us like a normal man. Lurking about unsuspecting towns, Wim Hof is the second largest cause of death during Polar Vortex Collapses next to exposure/Hypothermia. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to leave slim jims and a six pack of red bull on your front porch to appease Wim Hof and to paint lambs blood on every door of the house to deter the monster. However, if you are outside driving or getting the mail and you see a bearded shirtless man in shorts and sandals breaking another Guinness world record, run for your life.

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Published by S Rohrenjean

S. Rohrenjean is an Aerospace Engineer who has specialized in Canard Aesthetics and Reynolds Determinacy. With essentially a minor in Business Ethics, he began his professional endeavors as an undergrad selling access to his hoard of previous semesters Aero exams. Success came easy as most Aero professors concern themselves with the internal dialog of "why didn't I become a EE?" and "EE isn't real engineering, plasma induced laminar flow will change the world!", and thus never change their exam questions. Now, as an unemployed engineer who can explain in detail every aspect of Kutta condition but can't code "hello world" in anything but Matlab, he is working on the only true career progression of an Aero Engineer, tenure track professor.

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