The Beast from the East – Explained

A massive cold spur hit Europe and here’s why

We’ve all shivered and made snowmen this past days. And when I say ‘we’ I mean mainland Europe. Malta was only hit by some cold winds for a couple of days. Sad thing is that I had to go to work unlike most Europeans.

Anyhow, why did sudden Siberian cold hit mainland Europe?

To answer this, one has to look at the arctic region (north pole) specifically between 10km and 60km up in the atmosphere or what it is known as the stratosphere.

Due to the inclination of the earth (the same reason why we have seasons), the northern pole doesn’t receive sunlight and the temperature differences creates a vortex. This massive stratospheric storm called the stratospheric polar vortex spans as wide as the north pole itself.


Since it is so high up we don’t usually feel its effects, but there are instances where this vortex destabilises causing its doughnut shape to morph into two or more doughnuts.

thirty nine two
So, who’s complaining? (Credit: L0nd0ner -Pexel)

Actually Europe’s complaining since this splitting compresses air, heating up the stratosphere violently. So violent, that it pushes the cold arctic troposphere, or basically our weather portion of the atmosphere, disrupting our usually weather patterns.

Then we end up with something like this:

thirty nine
Credit: Paul Townsend – Flikr

If you want to know more please take a look at Simon Clark‘s video which has explained it much better than I ever could.

It’s all thanks to Simon Clark (twitter: @simonoxyphys) that I came to know of this so please do support him

Simon is one of the coolest and newest science communicators found on Youtube.

Do subscribe or give him a cheeky thumbs up.

If you love Science and want to read on more science-y things, click here 

Featured photo credits: Snapwire – Pexels.


Author: Words of Osiris

I'm a 30 year old soul, whose need to express himself was not satisfied by the common social media. While others vomit words with little thought, I will try my best to fill the void they have created. Born, raised, and reside on the cursed islands of Malta. I studied Sciences my whole life and always wanted to have a space where I can release my creative demons. In this blog, scientific objectiveness will meet the cry of different opinions and thought-invoking tales. Subjects will vary from the futile to the world changing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s