Atmosphere And Weather

Reasons for a Heat Wave what causes a Heat Wave Weather and Heat Waves Creating a Heat Wave



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People around the world look forward to warm temperatures and outdoor activities, but the summer heat can turn deadly when those temperatures soar well above normal and stay that high, or higher, for days on end.

Blistering temperatures coupled with high humidity can stress peoples’ systems to the maximum and cause death if people in the affected geographical areas aren’t careful. Drinking plenty of water and curbing outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day are two simple ways to keep safe during a heat wave.

What exactly is a heat wave? According to the dictionary definition, a heat wave is any prolonged period with abnormally high temperatures. Answers.com defines a heat wave as a period of time when  temperatures reach 10 degrees above normal and stay that way for several days.

Residents of the Midwest region of the United States frequently find themselves suffering heat waves, one after another. The problem for these unsuspecting residents stems from location, location, location. They are caught in the middle where warm dry air from the Southwest meets moist warm air from the Gulf of Mexico. The air masses push against each other. Neither of them will budge. This causes the airflow to stagnant and sit high in the atmosphere above a region, keeping the heat firmly in place.

These areas of high pressure, often called ridges, move through the atmosphere. When western and eastern ridges meet, the air begins to slow down and piles up into towering air masses above the earth. As the air piles up, some of it gets pushed toward the ground. As it moves downward, it becomes compressed and the air temperature increases. This is the perfect recipe to cook up a heat wave.

Mix in bright sunshine, no clouds and no rain and you have the ideal ingredients for a bona fide heat wave. Although most heat waves also bring high levels of humidity (moisture in the air) you can have a heat wave without humid air. More often than not, humidity and heat travel hand in hand, but moist air is not required before weather officials declare a region of the world is living in a heat wave.  

In recent years, weather forecasters have delivered bad news more frequently than at any other time in weather history. Concerns that carbon emissions are creating global warming have government and civilian teams studying the phenomenon more closely.

Heat related deaths have increased in the last decade, due to extended periods of excessively high temperatures. In addition to the loss of life, heat waves also have economic costs attached to them.

Businesses, such as street pavers, landscapers and construction companies may have to p put jobs on hold until it is safe for employees to return to outdoor labor. Workers will lose wages which will have a ripple effect through the retail sector of the economy.

All told, heat waves are no laughing matter.

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