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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Because of higher fuel prices, the Energy Information Administration is forecasting that U.S. households will spend more to heat their homes this winter.

Driving the news: When looking at winter forecasts, there are reasons to be concerned that parts of the U.S. — not to mention Europe, which is fully in the grips of an energy crisis, will see significant cold snaps.

The big picture: This winter is likely to be another La Niña winter, which will feature colder-than-average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

  • Such winters tend to be wetter and cooler than average in the Pacific Northwest, colder than usual in the Northern Plains and parts of the Midwest, wetter in the Ohio Valley, and drier in the South.

Yes, but: They also tend to be highly volatile from one week to the next.

  • Matt Rogers, co-founder of Commodity Weather Group, told Axios they are forecasting a colder-than-average winter in the U.S. and Europe compared to last year.
  • Rogers' group is forecasting about 0.5% higher energy demand for the U.S. this winter, compared to 7% higher energy demand in Europe year over year.

Meanwhile, Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather's top long-range forecaster, has his eyes on the polar vortex, the high-level swirl of frigid, low pressure above the Arctic. So too does Judah Cohen, a meteorologist at AER.

  • There are signs, Pastelok told Axios, that the vortex could start the winter weaker than average, which would favor Arctic cold slipping southward into the U.S. and Europe.
  • Cohen says this may not hold for the rest of winter, however.

Go deeper: Biden's winter energy chill

Go deeper

Updated Jan 15, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Earth's climate went off the rails in 2021, reports show

Temperature departures from average in degrees Celsius during 2021. (Berkeley Earth).

Global warming became local to a new and devastating extent in 2021, with the year ranking as the sixth-warmest on record, according to new, independent data from NASA, NOAA and Berkeley Earth.

Why it matters: Each year's data adds to the relentless long-term trend, which shows rapid warming due overwhelmingly to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions during the past several decades in particular.

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 11 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.