Jul 17, 2019

The U.S. Is Set to Roast This Week Under a Potentially Record-Setting Heat Wave

Philadelphia, PA
New York, NY
Washington, DC
Brian Kahn
Credit: Earth Wind Map
Credit: Earth Wind Map

A powerful heat dome coupled with disgustingly moist air will envelop the country from the Rockies to the Eastern Seaboard starting on Wednesday and peaking on Friday and Saturday.

The cause of the dire heat is a bump in the jet stream. The fast-moving river of air running from west to east can act like a dam, separating cooler air to the north from hotter, humid air to the south. A blossoming area of high pressure over the eastern two thirds of the country will push the jet stream further north, allowing heat to build and humid air to come up from the tropics. The high pressure also means sunny skies, which will create a feedback loop of more heat and more intense high pressure. Temperatures are expected to rise 10-20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.


If this sounds like climate change, well, yeah this is basically what it looks like.


This round of heat perfectly encapsulates what climate change is doing to our weather. Rising background temperatures have given heat waves a springboard that has made them increasingly common and more intense. Last month’s record-smashing heat wave in Europe, for example, was at least five times more likely due to climate change according to a rapid response analysis. Overnight lows are also rising faster than daytime highs in another symptom of climate change. That add more strain on people’s health, particularly kids and the elderly, by reducing the amount of time they have to cool off.