What is a Heat Dome?

Protect Yourself

The first storm is breaking records

Stay Hydrated
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, avoiding beverages with caffeine or alcohol, which can lead to dehydration.
Limit Outdoors

Limit Outdoor Activities: Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest parts of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you must be outside, take frequent breaks in the shade or a cool place.

Stay Informed
Keep an eye on weather reports and heat advisories. Be aware of the symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and seek medical attention if necessary.

A heat dome is a meteorological phenomenon where a high-pressure system traps a mass of hot air over a region, causing temperatures to rise significantly over several days or even weeks. This “dome” of high pressure acts like a lid, preventing cooler air from moving into the area and allowing the trapped air to become hotter as it sinks and compresses. Heat domes can lead to prolonged heatwaves, causing extreme temperatures that can have severe impacts on health, infrastructure, and the environment.

Heat domes are caused by a combination of factors, including atmospheric patterns, ocean temperatures, and land surface conditions. One key factor is the presence of a strong, persistent high-pressure system in the upper atmosphere.

This high-pressure system is often influenced by the jet stream, which can become wavy and stagnant, allowing hot air to build up and remain in one area. Additionally, warmer ocean temperatures can contribute to the development and intensity of heat domes by influencing atmospheric circulation patterns.

Addressing heat domes and their impacts involves both immediate and long-term strategies. In the short term, improving weather forecasting and early warning systems can help communities prepare for and respond to extreme heat events. Public health measures, such as cooling centers and public education on heat safety, are crucial for protecting vulnerable populations.

In the long term, mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential. This involves transitioning to renewable energy sources, enhancing energy efficiency, and adopting sustainable land use practices. Additionally, urban planning that increases green spaces and reduces heat-absorbing surfaces can help mitigate the urban heat island effect, which exacerbates the impacts of heat domes. While there is no single solution to completely prevent heat domes, a combination of proactive measures can significantly reduce their frequency and severity, protecting both people and the environment.