Tuesday, August 16, 2011
NASA: Ocean Cells Blamed for Heat Dome of 2011
By Chad Garrison
on Tue, Aug 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM
explanation for the "heat dome"
of 2011 that contributed to the persistently hot temperatures
throughout the South and Midwest this summer.
Data from the NASA's satellite-based Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) shows that air temperature over the northern subtropical regions of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans this year was slightly above normal, contributing to greater atmospheric pressure.
And while the pressure anomalies were small,
they could drive changes in the atmospheric circulation sufficient to
break heat records at the surface, according to NASA.
That's especially true when observing the pressure system over the Atlantic (below), which consistently drove
surface winds from the warm and humid tropics into much of the
continental United States
Scientists at NASA believe they have an