Canada and parts of the United States are experiencing extreme temperatures, due to which hundreds of people have died.
- The abnormal heat wave caused the temperature in Canada to rise to 49.5 degrees Celsius, an all-time record.
- According to the weather experts the heat dome effect is the cause for the sudden rise in temperature.
- Apart from the US, cities as far north as the Arctic Circle broke heat records this week.
What is heat dome?
- According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US department of commerce, a heat dome occurs when the atmosphere traps hot ocean air like a lid or cap.
- It is created when strong high-pressure atmospheric conditions combine with weather patterns like La Niña, creating vast areas of sweltering heat that get trapped under the high-pressure “dome”.
- The phenomenon begins when there is a strong change (or gradient) in ocean temperatures.
- In the process known as convection, the gradient causes more warm air, heated by the ocean surface, to rise over the ocean surface.
- As prevailing winds move the hot air east, the northern shifts of the jet stream trap the air and move it toward land, where it sinks, resulting in heatwaves.
- A heat dome typically lasts a week.
Effects of heat domes:
- The trapping of heat can also damage crops, dry out vegetation and result in droughts, according to weather experts.
- The sweltering heat wave also leads to rising in energy demand, especially electricity, leading to pushing up rates.
- The heat domes can also act as fuel to wildfires, which destroys a lot of land area in the US every year.
- Those living without an air conditioner see the temperatures of their homes rising to unbearably high, leading to sudden fatalities like those which are being reported in Canada and parts of the US.