What is Heat Dome ?
- To understand what causes a heat dome, one should liken the Pacific Ocean to a large swimming pool in which the heater is turned on.
- Once the heater is on, the portions of the pool close to the heating jets will warm up faster and therefore, the temperature in that area will be higher.
- In the same way, the western Pacific ocean’s temperatures have increased in the past few decades and are relatively more than the temperature in the eastern Pacific.
- This strong change in ocean temperature from the west to the east is what a team of scientists believe is the reason for the heat dome.
- This occurs when the atmosphere traps heat at the surface, which encourages the formation of a heatwave.
- To compare, the reason that the planet Venus is the hottest in the Solar System is that its thick, dense cloud cover traps the heat at the surface, leading to temperatures as high as 471 degrees Celsius.
Are heat waves dangerous for humans?
- If a person is at rest, wearing minimal clothing in a very dry room with about 10 per cent relative humidity, and is drinking water constantly (so that sweat can be produced), they can avoid overheating at temperatures as high as 46 degree Celsius.
- So as long as the body is producing sweat, which is then able to evaporate quickly, the body will be able to remain cool even under high temperatures.
- There is a limit to this, a limit called the wet-bulb temperature–that considers heat and humidity–beyond which humans cannot tolerate high temperatures.
- Some heat-related illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, sunburn and heat rashes. Sometimes, heat-related illnesses can prove fatal.