What Is Heat Dome Phenomenon That Is Killing People Due To Extreme Heat In Canada?

by Shatakshi Gupta

Historic heatwaves have broken all records in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, the state of British Columbia and Canada.  People here are struggling due to the heat dome effect that occurs once in 10,000 years. In Canada, the mercury has touched a record high of 49.6 degrees Celsius.More than 233 people have died in the last 4 days. In this, there have been more than 130 deaths in Vancouver alone.In Oregon and Washington, 2.5 million people are also facing power cuts. British Columbia Premier John Horgan called it the hottest week ever.

Also read: Why We Should Think About Our Environment Now?

This temperature surge being reported from the Pacific northwest and some parts of Canada is due to “historic heat wave” that lasted over a week, a result of a phenomenon referred to as a “heat dome”.

What is a Heat Dome?

To understand about a heat dome, imagine the Pacific ocean as a large swimming pool in which the heater is turned on. Now, the section of the pool close to the heating jets will warm up faster and therefore, that region will have higher temperature.

Similarly, the western Pacific ocean’s temperature has increased in the past few decades and is relatively more than the temperature in the eastern Pacific. This strong change in ocean temperature from the west to the east is quoted as the reason for the heat dome. This happens when the atmosphere traps heat at the surface, which enables the formation of a heat wave.

How people are tackling it?
  • Water fountains have been installed on the streets, where people can get wet.
  • There are no air conditioners in the houses here. In such a situation, the government has built cooling centres. People can spend day and night here.
  • COVID restrictions have been lifted for the pools so that people can spend time in pools.
  • Those who can afford have moved to air conditioner hotels.
  • All the shows of all the cinema halls with AC are running full here.