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Wild Winter Weather

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Unusually severe winter weather has hit parts of the U.S. in the past few weeks, from New Mexico all the way to Maine, coming on the heels of two major snowstorms in the Northeast. We take a look at some of the hardest-hit regions, including a peek at the source region for much of the cold air — the Arctic. Typically frigid this time of year, much of the far north has experienced milder than average conditions this winter. This is the second year in a row that has featured this "Arctic Paradox" pattern, with very cold conditions in the U.S. and parts of Europe and Asia, and abnormally mild conditions in the Arctic. Climate scientists are investigating whether this pattern, which is related to fluctuations in a natural climate cycle known as the Arctic Oscillation, may be linked to declining sea ice cover due to global climate change.