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Why Did the American West Receive Such Heat Wave?

Why Did the American West Receive Such Heat Wave?

California heat

Several American States had a record-breaking heatwave – thanks to a megadrought, climate change, and a high-pressure system.

States in American West have been affected with extreme heat last week as one of the worst-ever droughts along with higher pressure dome sent temperatures soaring past 100°. This has occurred before we started off with summer. Many states such as California, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming registered a staggering daily high. The temperature touched as high as 118° (48 Celsius) and reached even higher in the following days.

A National Weather Service’s Phoenix staff wrote on Facebook, “Very dangerous record-breaking heat should continue today across the deserts with well above normal highs. “a very good day to stay indoors.” 

So, How Did American West Receive Such a Heat Wave?

The heat comes from a high-pressure system over the West, a buckle in the jet stream winds that move across the U.S., and vast swaths of soil sucked dry by a historic drought, said Marvin Percha, a senior meteorologist for the agency in Phoenix.

According to him and other scientists, this kind of heatwave is unusual as it came earlier and is continuing longer than in previous years.

“June last year, things seemed pretty normal,” noted Park Williams, a University of California, Los Angeles, climate and fire scientist. “The record-breaking heatwaves came in August and September.”

But with such an early heatwave this year, “this could be the tip of the iceberg,” Williams said.

Are Record-Breaking Heat Waves The New Normal?

“A growing number of scientific studies are concluding that heatwaves in some cases can be directly attributed to climate change,” said Kristie L. Ebi, a professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington.

A recently published study on the number of people who die of heat waves every year because of the rapidly changing climate. It concluded that over 1100 people died yearly due to heat caused by climate change. That is almost 35% of all the deaths in the country. Phoenix reported 23 deaths due to heat caused due to climate, whereas Tucson reported 13 and Los Angeles had 21 deaths according to the study.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/s-heat-wave-american-west-rcna1226

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