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Current Affairs

US heat wave

Date: 01 July 2021 Tags: Climate Change

Issue

Weather forecast agencies have issued a warning that states such as Washington and Oregon will be under excessive-heat.

 

Background

Many of the US states are suffering from excessive heat conditions from the past few weeks. This has created a large shortage of water availability.

 

Details

  • For a heatwave to take place, the average temperature in an area must be above historical average for two or more days.

  • In some other parts, this definition changes. In the north-east US, the average temperatures must be  in the 90s or above for three continuous days.

  • The heatwave starts when high atmospheric pressure pushes warm air downwards. Further compression through high pressure causes it to warm again.

  • The conditions become more extreme as hot air pushes out winds and cloud cover. This causes the weather system to change drastically and remains for a longer time.

 

Heat dome

  • Heat dome is a situation in which heat forms a cover in a given area, resulting in trapping more heat.

  • This usually takes place in a high temperature area, where there is little moisture. This system is self-sustaining without any external aid.

 

Heat wave areas in North America

  • City of Salem near Portland has been the hottest on the continent. The record temperature has surpassed all previous records.

  • Canadian province of British Columbia broke an 84 year old record when its temperature increased to 116 degrees. This was 3 degrees more than previous records.

 

Reasons for heat-waves

  • The global temperatures have risen by 1 degree celsius since the 1900s. The speed of rise has accelerated faster in recent times.

  • The higher temperature baseline contributes to extreme weather events that can give rise to long warming events across the world.