The Dark Days of winter have settled in. It's that time of the year when things seem hard. The holidays are over, and for me, yet another birthday lurks just around the corner. Tick-tock. I feel old, and cold, and cooped up.
This particular winter has gone from hard to ridiculous and there is actual science to support this fact: The Polar Vortex. I am not a scientist, so bear with me, but here is my half-assed version of what's going on.
Most of our weather is controlled in one way or another by the jet stream. When temperatures near the Equator and temperatures near the North Pole are highly contrasted the jet stream undulates severely in its easterly march around the globe. However, when there is rapid warming in the Arctic—read climate change—and that temperature difference is less extreme, the jet stream gets lazy and moves around the northern hemisphere in something closer to a meander. This lazy, meandering jet stream allows arctic air to sink and settle over places it doesn't belong, bringing with it extreme weather conditions.
For those of us who live in the Upper Midwest extreme weather conditions can be translated as "dangerously cold". For Ireland it means gale-force winds and a storm surge that's battering the west coast. (I know this because I am still stalking Ireland and read the Irish Times on-line.)
I honestly don't remember a winter this cold in all my life—day after day of a cold so cold it can actually hurt you, and I'm not suffering it gladly. I should be walking more and drinking less. But I am not. Instead I'm feeling daunted, and depressed, and hell-bent on Spring.