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U.S. heat dome expands west to sizzle cities

Heat dome: Map of U.S. with red area from Mexico to Utah to Arkansas to Montana, and curved stripe of jet stream.
Graphic updated by Accuweather on July 7, 2022. The heat dome that brought high temps to much of the U.S. from late May to late June is now settling over the Midwest and Plains. Image via Accuweather.

U.S. heat dome expands west

Two of my favorite sources for weather information in the U.S. are Accuweather and the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post. Both are reporting this week on the heat dome that’s building up now. It’s due to bring exceptionally high temperatures to much of the nation, particularly Texas (where I live, and where EarthSky is based) and the U.S. Southwest. Matthew Cappucci of the Capital Weather Gang reported on July 5, 2022:

The weather pattern from late May to late June was dominated by a relentless heat dome that brought record temperatures everywhere except the northwest and northeast of the United States. After a bit of a pause, the heat dome is back. It’s settling over the Midwest and Plains and is forecast to gradually shift westward in coming days.

The heat dome could linger in the Southwest for well over a week, meaning a prolonged period of above-normal midsummer temperatures from Texas, which experienced widespread record heat in June, through Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist at Accuweather, wrote on July 7:

A large dome of hot air, responsible for many days of extreme temperatures, will expand westward from the southern Plains to much of the Western United States later this week … The extreme heat was produced by the persistence of a large northward bulge in the jet stream. When combined with a lack of rain, there have been a substantial number of days and locations with highs of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius) or greater so far this year.

While the ongoing and upcoming heat from the south-central to the southwestern United States may seem typical for July, temperatures will be 5-10 degrees above average for most locations through next week.

I’ve lived in Texas for all of my 71 years, and I spend a lot of time outside. And this summer’s heat doesn’t seem typical to me, especially not for June and early July. Here in Austin, we had 21 days over 100 F in June. It’s been brutal! And we hope that our statewide electric grid won’t fail us again, as it did for some days, during an extreme cold snap in 2021.

And we have a long summer yet to go.

I’m no expert on weather. So you should click over and read Accuweather’s article, or the Capital Weather Gang’s article, if you want more details.

Map with oval over western states, fading to pink in Central America and U.S. Northeast.
The American GFS model simulates the heat dome shifting west. Image via WeatherBell/ Washington Post.

Cities in Europe are sizzling, too

And it’s not just U.S. cities that are under pressure from the heat. The European Space Agency said on July 6, 2022, that air temperatures are much above average in parts of Europe and Asia, too. ESA reported:

June 2022 [went] down as a record breaker. The fear is that these extreme early-season heatwaves are a taste of what could soon be the norm as climate change continues to take hold. For those in cities, the heat dissipates slower creating ‘urban heat islands’, which make everyday life even more of a struggle.

ESA said that the ECOSTRESS instrument aboard the International Space Station – owned by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory – is important to Europe’s remote sensing community. It’s helping them develop a new Copernicus Sentinel satellite: the Land Surface Temperature Monitoring (LSTM) mission. ESA said it’s using ECOSTRESS to simulate the data that’ll eventually be returned by LSTM. In turn, the LSTM data will provide systematic measurements of the temperature of the land surface. And, ESA said, that promises:

… to be a game-changer for urban planners and farmers, for example.

Map of Paris, with many red blotches nearly covering city. A few green areas (parks).
An instrument, carried on the International Space Station, captured the recent land-surface temperature extremes for some European cities, including Milan, Paris and Prague. This image shows the land-surface temperature in Paris on June 18, 2022. Image via ESA.

Bottom line: It’s been a brutal summer already for some parts of the U.S. In early July 2022, a heat dome is settling over the U.S. Midwest and Plains.

Via the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang

Via Accuweather

Via the European Space Agency

July 7, 2022

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