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What Is the Polar Vortex?

What happens during a polar outbreak event? In this informative video by Earth Vision Trust, Mark Serreze of the National Snow and Ice Data Center explains how fluctuations in the polar front jet stream brought record low temperatures to the U.S. in January 2014.

Earth Vision Trust is a non-profit founded by National Geographic photographer and grantee James Balog that seeks to educate and inspire the public through innovative visual exploration of the changing environment.

For more about Earth Vision Trust, click here.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.