February 29, 2024

Extreme Temperatures and Humidity: Heat Dome Descends on Central U.S.

The map above programs air temperatures modeled at 2 meters (6.5 feet) above the ground at about 3 p.m. Central Time on August 23, 2023. It was generated by merging satellite observations with temperatures predicted by a variation of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model, which uses mathematical formulas to represent physical processes in the atmosphere. The higher the heat index, which suggests how hot it feels when accounting for both temperature and relative humidity, the harder it is for the human body to cool itself. Another stretch of severe heat is grasping southern Europe, while ratings of new temperature level records are being set in Japan.

Satellite data of air temperature levels on August 23, 2023.
Severe temperatures and humidity impacted millions of individuals in the Midwest, Great Plains, and South in August 2023.
High heat and humidity have blanketed numerous states in the U.S. South, Midwest, and Great Plains in late August of 2023. This is because of a large area of high pressure and warm air, typically described as a heat dome, which settled over the interior United States.
Temperature Level Modeling and Records
The map above shows air temperatures modeled at 2 meters (6.5 feet) above the ground at about 3 p.m. Central Time on August 23, 2023. It was generated by merging satellite observations with temperature levels anticipated by a version of the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) design, which utilizes mathematical formulas to represent physical processes in the atmosphere. New Orleans, Louisiana, connected its previous record high, set in August 1980.
High humidity, owing to moisture drawn from the Gulf of Mexico, added to the severe nature of the heat wave. Chicago, Illinois, experienced a heat index of 116 ° F (47 ° C) on August 23, which ties its second greatest on record. The higher the heat index, which suggests how hot it feels when representing both temperature level and relative humidity, the more difficult it is for the human body to cool itself. Commuter trains in the city had to run slower due to heat-related stress on the tracks. More than 100 million people may have been exposed to harmful heat and humidity for multiple days, according to one analysis by The Washington Post.
The heat dome in the United States is but among a number of bouts of heat occurring worldwide. Another stretch of extreme heat is grasping southern Europe, while ratings of brand-new temperature level records are being embeded in Japan. Even winter weather in the Southern Hemisphere is uncommonly warm.
Projection and Relief
For those in the U.S., relief may be on the horizon. A cold front is expected to relieve much of the Midwests heat by August 26, as per the National Weather Services Weather Prediction. Areas like the southern plains and the Gulf Coast might sustain the scorching temperature levels for a few more days.
NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, utilizing GEOS-5 information from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office at NASA GSFC.