For the last almost 2 years our weather seems to have been stuck in the same pattern. The west having a ridge and heat, from the plains to the east having a trough and below normal temperatures. The term "polar vortex" came to be well known in the United States.
I am not so sure we can blame the "polar vortex" so much for this pattern. In general I am hesitant to say how much influence man can have on the weather, but I think there are indications that this may be the case in the last few years. No this is not global warming, or at least not in the sense that most people think with our carbon footprints.
The problem that I am theorizing about doesn't have anything to do with fossil fuels or our modern lifestyle, but has to do with the EPA and government regulations. What? how could government regulations change our weather patterns? That seems ridiculous! Well, maybe or maybe not.
Before man entered the picture, the SW region was rather desert like. Modern technology and mans ingenuity found a way to turn useless land into liveable, and more importantly farmable land. The increased vegetation also increased the moisture in the air. Plants do this. It also helped retain the soil by anchoring it. Good soil holds moisture too. We turned many regions from deserts into gardens, from wasteland into farmland.
This changed the climate. It reduced the heat, over time, in the west, and allowed for more pacific moisture to come in and milder temperatures. Moisture begets moisture. The pattern was less up and down and more zonal. The period from the 40s through the 60s saw some of the most perfect weather we have ever seen for growing crops.
A few years back, and some folks may or may not remember this, the EPA made a ruling about a small fish. They said to save this small fish from extinction, the water to the farms had to be shut off. The farms died. They dried up and the top soil blew away. The dry conditions began to build and spread. A heat dome developed over the dried out lands.
The heat dome compounded the problem because now not only was it hot and dry, the heat dome pushed the weather patterns away from the area so the drought persisted and got worse. The worse the drought got, the stronger the heat dome, and then the worse the drought, etc etc. It has just built on itself over the last several years. It is so bad now that some are warning that underground water sources may go completely dry, closing down major cities like Las Vegas.
We saw something similar to this in the 1930s dust bowl where poor farming techniques ruined the soil and nothing would grow. Vast dust storms blew away the top soils and intense heat built in the region. Water went away and the people moved away. It took a couple of decades to really recover. We learned that there is an interconnection between our farming and the weather.
The same thing is now happening in the west, and it is effecting the weather patterns around the globe. Great floods occurred in the plains and Midwest as the storm patterns concentrated on these areas, especially north. Record cold and snows have affected not just the eastern part of the country but other places around the world. The amplified jet streams allowed for warmer weather and fierce storms to hit western Europe while eastern Europe got massive ice storms. We saw snow in Japan and Egypt where it hardly ever snows.
This is certainly a condition we have seen before and something to be considered and looked into. I doubt anyone will though, and folks like me will just get called crazy because there is far too much money to be made in the regulation of carbon. Yes, man is causing climate change, but not in the way he thinks.