in photo: A graphic representation of the heat dome. Credit: NOAA

Dozens of new ones were registered over the weekend just ended high temperature record in numerous locations of the Canada, in addition, that of hottest day in the history of the North American country, at least since the traces of the “temperature”Of the planet. Sunday 27 June, in fact, in the small village of Lytton of British Columbia, just 250 souls, the mercury column reached the record temperature of 46,6° C, beating the previous Canadian record of 45° C, reached July 5, 1937 in two locations in Saskatchewan. This infernal temperature is the daughter of a ‘heat wave devastating that has been affecting western North America for several days. British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan in Canada and Oregon and Washington State in the United States are the most affected regions, with temperatures ranging from 35 to over 40 ° C (10 – 15 ° C more than the average of the period) due to a real “heat dome”Which has stabilized over northern North America. According to Environment Canada experts, the phenomenon will persist throughout the week, representing a real risk for the public health. But what is a heat dome?

What is a heat dome

To explain in detail what a heat dome is is the National Administration for Oceanic and Atmospheric Observation (NOAA -National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) of the United States. As the name suggests, this phenomenon is like a kind of gigantic lid capable of blocking thehigh pressure – and the resulting high temperatures – over a specific region, trapping the heat and making it persistent (and dangerous). To catalyze the risk of the heat dome in North America is the phenomenon called “La Nina”, The cold counterpart of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which causes a strong heating of the waters of thePacific Ocean. But how does a cooling determine the heat dome? As specified by the NOAA, the eastern Pacific waters are cooler and the western Pacific warmer when Nina occurs. This difference determines the generation of twenty that push dense and warm air (tropical) from West to East. This hot air flow can get trapped inside the jet stream, a powerful current of air that rotates counterclockwise on the Earth, thus forming the dome that “rests” above the western shores of North America. The heat dome, in simple terms, traps and crystallizes theheat wave, allowing the high temperatures to persist for several days. Before hitting Canada on June 26 and 27, in the previous days it had caused asphyxiating temperatures in the USA; in Palm Springs, in Riverside County in California, they touched for example i 50,6° C, while in Las Vegas, Nevada, the temperature was 45,5° C. “It is warmer in some areas of western Canada than in Dubai,” said climate scientist David Phillips of Environment Canada, commenting on the exceptional climate of recent days.

What does climate change have to do with it

When such extreme heat waves occur, you point your finger at the global warming triggered by climate changes, in turn driven by greenhouse gas emissions (principally carbon dioxide) derived from anthropogenic activities. On the occasion of the 46.6 ° C of Lytton, the skeptics of climate change immediately pointed out that about 80 years ago in Canada there was a temperature not too dissimilar, therefore we would be faced with a completely natural phenomenon and not the result of devastation of man. The mistake that deniers make, as did former US President Donald Trump himself, is to confuse the weather with the weather. As pointed out by Professor Jason Furtado, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, the weather is a bit like themood of a person, variable according to the contingent situation, while the climate is his personality, which obviously changes with much more time and experience. THE meteorological phenomena are characterized by being limited in time and in space, while the climate is linked to processes that last years o persino decades. Furthermore, climate change has the potential to change theintensity and the frequency of meteorological phenomena, as explained to the fanpage by the climatologist Marina Baldi of the Institute for Bioeconomy of the National Research Council (CNR-IBE). This also applies to the heat waves and “derivatives” such as heat domes. Experts expect that, due to the increase in the average temperature, in the coming decades we will have to deal with 20-30 days more per year than extreme heat waves, associated with a high mortality because of the thermal stress which they submit to our body. As stated by Canadian meteorologists, it is still June and temperatures will continue to rise in the coming days and weeks, so new record highs are expected to be reached in the areas affected by the heat dome. To counter the suffocating heat, fans and air conditioners are selling like hot cakes in all the shops. If we do nothing to stem the effects of global warming, even the countries bordering the Mediterranean will be forced to experience an increasingly significant number of days of deadly heat, accompanied by droughts, fires and meteorological phenomena – such as tornadoes – more devastating and frequent. .

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