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Cold-o-nomics

Frigid temperatures arrived in the Upper Midwest with a polar vortex. In Chicago on Wednesday, Marius Radoi walked along a freezing Lake Michigan.
Joshua Lott
/
AFP/Getty Images

Climate change is snowballing into more extreme weather. Between hurricanes, tornadoes, and yes, polar vortices, life on earth is becoming increasingly disrupted by weather conditions. And that can get expensive. Today on The Indicator, we look at how extreme weather can affect the economy, and what the most costly climate conditions can be.

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Correction: In this episode, we say the temperature in Thief River Falls, Minn., fell to minus 77 degrees Fahrenheit. That was the "feels like" wind chill reading. The recorded air temperature fell to minus 38 degrees.

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Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.
Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money podcast, along with Stacey Vanek Smith. He joined NPR in November 2017.