The southwest United States of America is experiencing high temperatures due to the effects of Heat Dome.

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  • More than 34 million Americans are preparing for extreme temperatures as a heat dome descends on the western part of the US.
  • Similar temperatures last year killed at least a dozen people in the American Southwest.

What is the latest forecast? 

  • Forecasts show temperatures could reach 42.2C (108F) across a wide swathe of California, from Sacramento to Bakersfield.
  • Forecasters expect temperatures to be 5.5-11C (10-20F) above normal.

What is a heat dome?

  • It is an area of high pressure that pushes air towards the ground, trapping it and causing it to heat up. As a result, temperatures can rise and stay high for a period of time.
  • The pressure also prevents other weather systems that might cool down an area – such as rain clouds – from forming.
  • Heat domes are like hot ballons expanding and contracting as the day passes.
  • They typically last a few days but occasionally last for up to weeks, resulting in heatwaves.

Causes of Heat Dome

  • Ocean Temperature Changes: Heat domes are caused by changes in ocean temperatures that create strong temperature gradients. These gradients lead to convection, where warm air heated by the ocean surface rises, contributing to the formation of a heat dome.
  • Impact of Climate Change: Heat domes last longer due to the overall warming of the climate, making them a regular and more intense phenomenon on land.

Effects of heat dome

  • High temperatures and humidity cause heat domes, which makes the air feel even hotter.
  • This weather phenomenon often results in clear skies, as the sinking air suppresses the development of clouds and precipitation.
  • Like extreme heatwaves, heat domes can also lead to drought conditions, as they suppress the development of clouds and precipitation.
  • It can lead to exhaustion and heat stroke. It poses a severe threat, particularly to older people, children, and individuals with certain medical conditions.
  • It has severe consequences for crops and animals. Crops are at risk of damage with the onset of drought conditions. 

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