Zoom in with Zoe: Heat Dome over the northern United States and Canada
GREENVILLE, North Carolina (WNCT) – A historic heat wave has broken record after record in the northwestern United States and Canada. This is not only possible due to global weather conditions, but also because of what is called a thermal dome.
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NOAA’s early spring forecast actually hinted at a high likelihood of a thermal dome developing this summer. It is thanks to the passage of La Nina in neutral phase.
Simply put, the waters of the Pacific Ocean are cooler in the eastern basin and warmer in the west, with the difference in temperature creating winds that blow tropical air from west to east. This warm tropical air can be taken in the jet stream and pushed into western parts of North America.
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When this mass of air is taken under a high pressure system, it pushes hot air towards the ground. As it sinks, it continues to heat up by compression. The hot air expands vertically and is pushed back to the ground, trapping everything in a bubble on the surface. This is called a thermal dome, which currently affects the northwestern parts of the United States and Canada.
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Millions of people were subject to excessive heat warnings, with temperatures around 30 to 40 ° C above average for this time of year. Portland Airport broke its 80-year record three days in a row, with temperatures reaching 116 degrees.
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According to the National Weather Service, Salem, Oregon, may have set the highest temperature on record west of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest when it hit 117 degrees on June 28. The Canadian national record was broken three days in a row, with the town of Lytton hitting 115 on Monday and then peaking at 121 F on Tuesday, breaking the record of 113 in 1937.
In addition to the all-time national record, 37 other locations in Canada with records at least since the 1960s in Alberta, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories have equaled or set new all-time records , until now.
Fortunately, no triple-digit temperatures for us here in eastern North Carolina yet.