North American Heat Wave 2011

Category: Entertainment

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By Jetty Little, Biridiana Lopez, Elizabeth Fuentes, Kaltun Omar, and Kathy Dang,


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NORTH AMERICAN HEAT WAVE SUMMER 2011 By: Jetty Little, Biridiana Lopez, Elizabeth Fuentes, Kaltun Omar, and Kathy Dang

What is a heat wave?:

An extended interval of abnormally hot and ususually humid weather, usually lasting a few days to over a week. A prolonged period of excessive heat, often combines with excessive humidity E xcessive heat is defined as temperatures that hover 10 degrees or more than above the average high temperature for the region during summer months, last for an extended period of time, and often are accompanied by high humidity What is a heat wave?

Causes :

It is formed when an air mass becomes stationary over a region, with very little air movement to help reduce temperatures. The heat dome forms when a high pressure system develops in the upper atmosphere, causing the air below it to sink and compress because there's more weight on top which raises temperatures in the lower atmosphere. Causes

Effects :

First, the effects have been magnified by the drought afflicting the Plains and the South. With the soil so dry, less solar energy is used in evaporating water and more is devoted to making humans feel as if they are under a heat lamp. Second, this heat dome is a particularly massive one, Lupo said, covering more than 1 million square miles. A heat dome this large influences other aspects of the atmosphere. This dome, which has parked itself over the nation's Midwest, is pushing the jet stream and its dry and cool air to the north into Canada. Lastly, the heat dome is staying in one place because of a phenomenon called atmospheric blocking generally, he said, a cold front or a low-pressure storm system will move in from the west and push a heat dome into the Atlantic. This current heat dome has been so persistent because two large scale weather patterns one over the Atlantic and another over Asia became nearly stationary. Effects

Summer Heat Wave of 2011:

Vast amounts of warmth and moisture have become trapped under a huge "heat dome," bringing record-breaking temperatures and thick, topical air to scores of cities from the Plains to the Ohio Valley. The dome of high pressure also pushes the jet stream and its drier, cooler air, farther north – it's now well into Canada – while hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico circulates clockwise around the dome, traveling farther inland than normal. Humidity makes the weather feel far hotter because the body, which cools itself by perspiring, has to work harder when the air is already moist. Summer Heat Wave of 2011




Drought :Drought caused by the below average rainfall received during the spring, allowed for the intensity of the heat wave to increase, which impacted wildlife, humans and plants alike. Greenhouse Effect: The earth's mean average temperature is regulated by a steady equilibrium which exists between the energy reaching the earth from the sun and the energy reflected by the earth back into space. Some of the radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and some of it is reflected back from the earth's surface into space. The radiation that is reflected back into space is infrared radiation which has a longer wavelength. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and oxides of nitrogen tend to absorb some of the reflected infrared radiation and re-reflect it back towards the earth. This is what causes the greenhouse effect and it results in an increase in average mean temperature on earth. It is a natural phenomenon. However, since there has been an increase in the greenhouse gases in the past century, this has resulted in an increase of the greenhouse effect leading to higher than normal average temperatures which could lead to disastrous consequences in the future. Photosynthesis : Plants are highly impacted by the heat wave for example. Stomata, which are pores located in the bottom of leaves, allow for gases to be exchanged for photosynthesis, as well as allow water loss in the plant. If the plant is under too much stress, extensive water loss, extreme heat, low humidity, etc..., the stomata will close to prevent further damage to the plant. Due to the drought that was caused by the heatwave, plants lacked sustainable levels of water in the plant which causes plants to close their stomata as well as the extreme heat. When this occurs photosynthesis slows down or stops if the plant dies due to the extreme conditions, and CO2 cant be used in photosynthesis, therefore CO2 remains in the atmosphere which aids in the increase in greenhouse gases which contributed to the heat wave of 2011. Connection


Animals Large-scale farms, which face additional challenges when animals are housed in close quarters and unable to naturally cool off, typically use fans and water misting systems to keep animals from overheating Dairy cows may produce less milk if they're overheated, and chickens may stop laying eggs, while cattle kept in feedlots prior to slaughter can be most prone to heat stress because the large expanses of land often lack shade When it's hot and they're packed together and generating even more body heat Plant Life The record high temperatures in each case, along with the tinder dry conditions, led to extensive wildfires that were extremely costly in terms of lives, structures, human dislocations, and costs On August 30, several homes in Oklahoma City were destroyed along with 1,500 wooded acres. Several hundred homes had to be evacuated. Water The continuing heat and drought resulted in several lakes dropping to record lows, particularly in Texas and Oklahoma. This resulted in re-exposing old towns and other historical sites that were submerged by dam construction. Impacts




In the atmosphere, some of the long wave radiation is absorbed by certain gases called greenhouse gases. Each molecule of greenhouse gas becomes energized and emits heat energy in all directions. By radiating heat energy toward Earth , greenhouse gases increase Earth's temperature. Certain gases in the Earth's atmosphere that absorb some of the outgoing longwave radiation, or heat energy.These gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Connection


In the next few years the temperature will continue to rise, but the distribution of heat is not even. The warming tends to be concentrated in the northern areas of the world. Infrared radiation is trapped by greenhouse gases, but, due to the increased levels of radiation, excess IR radiation is trapped in the atmosphere. Impacts




When a heat wave occurs the heat transfers throughout the earth causing extremely high temperatures and this is heat energy and heat energy is the form of energy which transfers this energy from one thing to another. There are number of ways of heat transfers: Conduction Convection Radiation The heat transfers is guided by some basic principles which have become known as the laws of thermodynamics, which define haw heat transfer relates to work done by as system and place some limitations on what it is possible for a system to achieve. The heat capacity of an object helps define how that object's temperature responds to absorbing or transmitting heat. Heat capacity is defined as the change in heat divided by the change in temperature. Connection


The effects a heat wave can do are serious and heat transfer goes under this. The effects of heat transfer is that the particles of one substance collide with the particles of another substance. The more energetic substance will typically lose internal energy while the less energetic will gain internal energy. The most impactful effect of this is in our routine life where a substance changes from one state of matter to another, such as ice melting from a solid to a liquid as it absorbs heat. The water contains more internal energy than in the ice. Impacts

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