What’s this “Heat Dome” thingy we’ve been hearing about?

You may have heard the term “heat dome” over the last week in relation to the oppressive temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. The National Weather Service (NWS) says the cause of the dangerous weather was a dome of high pressure positioned over a large swath of the western U.S. for most of June.

Now the “heat dome” has shifted north, giving little relief to California, Arizona, Nevada and other states already threatened with sweltering weather. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says a heat dome occurs after “strong, high-pressure atmospheric conditions” join with influences from La Nina, climate pattern leading to the creation of vast areas of scorching heat “that gets trapped under the high-pressure ‘dome.’”

The scientists say the main cause of heat domes is a “strong change (or gradient) in ocean temperatures from west to east in the tropical Pacific Ocean during the preceding winter.” Unprecedented heat will continue through the rest of the week for the Northern Great Basin and Northern Rockies.  (Fox