Why the U.S. heat wave will be so long and persistent

Why the U.S. heat wave will be so long and persistent

A persistent heat wave is creeping across the U.S.

The heat started in the South and Southwest — baking Phoenix in at least 110-degree Fahrenheit temperatures for 11 straight days — and will migrate into the Midwest, East Coast, and parts of the South this weekend and beyond, triggering warnings of “Excess Heat” from the National Weather Service. The heat index, or what it feels like, will reach over 105 F in many places. 

The culprit is a heavy mass of air, called a ridge or “heat dome,” that’s moving over the Lower 48. “Heat dome” is an apt word because it describes a large mass of air pushing down on Earth’s surface, explained Greg Carbin, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Importantly, this region of high atmospheric pressure heats itself up, because the sheer weight of the air sinks down and inevitably compresses, creating heat.  Read more…

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