July 1, 2021


Record high temperatures are being reported across North America, primarily in Canada and northwestern portions of the United States. The temperatures have been deadly, as more than 100 deaths were reported in Canada thus far from the blazing heat.

The temperature is rare, even for July. Scientists have confirmed that a heat dome caused the high temperatures. This is a concept that many people have never heard of, but it’s beginning to become a household term in Canada.

What is a Heat Dome?

A heat dome is a rare weather phenomenon in which high-pressure atmospheric conditions have trapped air coming in from the Pacific Ocean. This causes the air column to be heated and compressed.

This is similar to the concept of heating something in a saucepan with a lid. The air is trapped and compressed, which causes heat to rise. This may be okay for food in a saucepan, but it has been devastating for people dealing with the deadly heat.

The area of atmospheric pressure has caused the high-pressure heat to be sandwiched between low-pressure columns. This sandwich pattern is still causing heat to rise because the cool air is being pushed away from the heat dome.

Wind usually combats a heat dome by circulating air. A heat dome that is moved by wind is a heatwave. This is not the case with the current system in Canada because this dome is vast, and it stretches into the atmosphere.

The sheer size of the system is making it virtually unmovable from the wind. Currently, the system appears to be stationary, which is not beneficial for anyone in the area.

Was it Climate Change?

Every time there are natural disasters, many people are quick to point to climate change as the reason. Single incidents of bad weather are difficult to correlate to climate change because the long-term analysis is more important.

However, extremely rare events like the North American heat dome are expected to become rarer because of what is known about climate change. The increase in temperature throughout the world is going to cause many future issues.

This is why many politicians are trying to implement green alternatives to save the United States. On Tuesday, Canada experienced a 121 degree Fahrenheit temperature which broke the national record for the third straight day.

In the Pacific Northwest, the heat has led to record temperature drops. Portland, OR, experienced a 116-degree Fahrenheit temperature which dropped to 64 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

The United States National Weather Service has been closely monitoring the situation, stating that the heat dome is expected to be relentless until Thursday. Canada has seen 103 temperature records broken in the provinces of British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta, and the Northwest territories.

People throughout the Northwest have been sleeping in cooling shelters. Dry ice is being used to cool water, but swimming pools are not even open. This is due to the deck around the pools being dangerously hot for feet.

The weather service is hopeful that the heatwave ends by Thursday, so Canada and the Northwestern United States can experience some relief.

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