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Associated Press

Warmer weather in the Arctic due to climate change is making winters in the U.S. longer and affecting farms, according to a new study.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, changing the circulation of cooler air to the planet's middle latitudes. The effect is harsher winters and cooler spring seasons that, in the years studied, were associated with a 1 to 4% decline in agricultural yield on average in the growing seasons following warm Arctic years. Certain areas, such as Texas, saw a much steeper decline of 20% due to the colder temperatures and drier weather.

Why it matters: The Arctic is only getting warmer, and American farmers may have to adjust harvesting schedules to handle the weather changes. Fewer plants also mean that less carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere, which can accelerate the effects of climate change even more.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.