Various parts of Europe experienced an unusual winter heat wave over the New Year’s weekend. Experts noted that the temperatures in these regions reached up to 20 degrees Celsius higher than normal.
A Washington Post report noted that temperatures in several countries reached their hottest levels ever recorded in January. Some of these included Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and the Czech Republic.
According to experts, the temperatures in these regions were higher than normal for this time of year and similar to summer and springtime levels. For instance, in Poland’s Korbielw village, the temperature reached 19 degrees Celsius, which is considered to be a temperature that’s commonly experienced in May.
In Belarus, the temperature in some regions reached a high of 16.4 degrees Celsius on January 1 when normally temperature remains around zero degree Celsius during this time every year. Experts are of the view that the extreme temperatures were caused by a heat dome over the continent.
What is a heat dome
A heat dome is a type of weather phenomenon that occurs when high pressure over a region traps warm air. The prolonged exposure to this type of weather can cause the air to get extremely hot. This can lead to deadly heat waves. Usually, heat domes only last for a couple of days. However, they can extend up to weeks.
According to experts, a heat dome can create a stronger and warmer air mass if the pressure in the region is high enough. When the air gets compressed and warmed, it tends to sink, raising the temperature even further.
Is climate change to be blamed for heat domes?
Although heat domes have been around for a long time, climate scientists believe that the weather phenomenon is being made more intense due to global warming. With rising temperatures, these extreme heat events are becoming more frequent..
.Previous instances of heat domes
A heat dome developed over Canada and the US in 2021 and caused deadly heat waves. In Oregon, the temperature reached 46 degrees Celsius, while in Washington, it reached 49 degrees Celsius. According to reports, hundreds of individuals reportedly died due to the extreme weather phenomenon.
A study conducted in 2022 revealed that climate change was partly to blame for the development of a heat dome. It warned that if global temperatures continue to rise, the phenomenon could become a once-a-decade event.