What is a heat dome? An atmospheric scientist explains the weather phenomenon baking large parts of the country
Posted Jun 22, 2022
A heat dome occurs when a persistent region of high pressure traps heat over an area. The heat dome can stretch over several states and linger for days to weeks, leaving the people, crops and animals below to suffer through stagnant, hot air that can feel like an oven. Heat domes normally persist for several days in any one location, but they can last longer. They can also move, influencing neighboring areas over a week or two. The heat dome involved in the June 2022 U.S. heat wave crept eastward over time.
Iowa State University Professor of Atmospheric Science William Gallus explains that a heat dome can have serious impacts on people, because the stagnant weather pattern that allows it to exist usually results in weak winds and an increase in humidity. Both factors make the heat feel worse – and become more dangerous – because the human body is not cooled as much by sweating.
Read Gallus’ full article in The Conversation here.