It might seem counterintuitive, but global warming plays a role in blasts of bitter cold weather. The reason: It influences the jet stream. Here’s how.

The jet stream wind speeds over North America. Credit: NASA

The polar jet stream can be several miles deep and more than 100 miles wide, with the strongest winds typically 5 to 10 miles above the ground. In this NASA visualization, the fastest winds are in red; slower winds are in blue. Credit: NASA

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