Extreme Temperature Diary- Thursday July 8th, 2021/ Main Topic: New Heatwave Gamma Strikes The Southwest

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: New Heatwave Gamma Strikes The Southwest

Dear Diary. The West is getting plagued with historic drought and related heatwave after heatwave. The latest heat episode, which I’ve dubbed “Gamma” is now a dangerous CAT3 on my scale of 1-5.

The good news is I seriously doubt that Gamma will become a CAT5 like Pacific Northwest Beta, but should become a historic, deadly CAT4 over the weekend. Remember, some weather historians were calling Beta the most anomalously hot heatwave in history, and they weren’t being hyperbolic.

Meteorological models did a great job forecasting Gamma more than a week out, as we saw here:

So what is the current state of Gamma, and how long will it last? Here was the current heat dome level this morning:

On the above chart we have a near 594 decameter ridge centers over the Utah, Nevada, Arizona tristate area.

Today (on Thursday) here are the National Weather Service heat advisories in effect:

It’s interesting, but not a coincidence, that these advisories are placed over the heart of the western drought:

The worst heat from Gamma will occur during or shortly after its associated heat dine reaches its zenith. It looks like that day will be on Sunday:

Gamma, just like Beta, should linger for a long time, lasting for much of next week. Gamma’s heat dome’s last discernable day will be on Thursday once the 594 decameter ridge contour dissipates:

Some climatologists, including yours truly, are thinking that Death Valley will make a run at 130°F during Gamma. The all-time world temperature record was set there, which is 128°F. I’ll be reporting just how hot it gets at Death Valley this weekend. Unfortunately if Death Valley gets into record territory the surrounding big cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles will be dealing with serious heat issues.

Here are more details on what to expect from Gamma from Yahoo News:

https://news.yahoo.com/california-braces-for-another-heat-wave-as-climate-change-and-drought-take-their-toll-201054785.html

Yahoo News

California braces for another heat wave as climate change and drought take their toll

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning Tuesday for much of California that will last from Wednesday through next Monday, the third potentially record-breaking heat wave over the last two months in a state racked by a drought made worse by climate change.  

Jing Jing, a student from China, poses in front of a temperature gauge at Death Valley National Park in California on June 29. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)
Jing Jing, a student from China, poses in front of a temperature gauge at Death Valley National Park in California on June 29. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)

Temperatures are forecast to reach 116 degrees in the valleys of San Diego over the weekend, and even higher in desert portions of the state. In the Central Valley, where much of the nation’s food is grown, temperatures are forecast to reach 111 degrees on Sunday, and Yosemite National Park could see temperatures of over 108 degrees for several days in a row, the National Weather Service warned. 

Virtually the entire state of California is experiencing extreme or exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and higher temperatures bring an elevated risk of wildfires. After a heat dome covered much of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia last week, two wildfires erupted in Northern California. Water levels at reservoirs and lakes in the state continue to drop, and the snowpack has all but vanished. 

“The drought is leading to extremely low soil moisture, which is making it easier for these high pressure systems to generate extreme heat waves because more of the sun’s energy is going into heating the atmosphere rather than evaporating nonexistent water in the soil,” Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA, told NPR, adding, “That’s sort of the vicious cycle of drought and extreme heat in a warming climate.” 

Late June’s record-breaking heat dome was the second to affect California that month. The first, which came a week earlier, saw temperatures reach 123 degrees in Palm Springs, a record 109 in Sacramento and 118 in the town of Thermal. 

Due to climate change, the frequency of record-breaking hot temperatures continues to outpace record-breaking low temperatures by a wide and growing margin because average surface temperatures have risen by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the dawn of the industrial age. The impact of that shift is being felt in weather events such as this summer’s unprecedented heat waves, the exceptional drought across much of the American West and the record-setting early arrival of named tropical storms, like Tropical Storm Elsa, in the Atlantic. 

Last week, after the heat dome in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, hundreds of people died from heat-related illnesses. With temperatures poised to remain in triple digits for several days in a row, the National Weather Service is warning of potential health risks and recommending that citizens stay indoors during the heat wave.  

For many migrant farmworkers, remaining indoors isn’t an option. While temperatures in the Central Valley can regularly approach 100 degrees in the summer months, adding another 10 to 15 degrees can prove hazardous. 

The heat dome that gripped Southern California in mid-June forced workers to endure days of 115-degree heat. 

“I’d never experienced anything like that. My head hurt and I was gasping,” Luz Cruz, 18, told the Washington Post.

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Related:

Here are some “ET’s” from Thursday:

Here is some more climatology from June 2021:

Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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