November 30, 2023

Syllabus: General Studies paper 1 (Geography)


Canada broke a national heat record on june 27, when the temperature in a small town in british columbia reached almost 116 degrees fahrenheit. At least 134 people have died suddenly in canada.

  • A historic heat wave is prevailing in the pacific northwest.
  • Heat waves are generally the result of trapped air.

Cause behind heat wave:

The heat wave was caused by what meteorologists described as a dome of high pressure over the northwest and worsened by human-caused climate change

  • Heat domes:heat domes or sprawling ridges of high pressure are a staple of summer. They bring copious sunshine and sinking air that heats up as it is compressed.
    • As the ground warms, it loses moisture, which makes it easier to heat even more.
    • And in the drought-ridden west, there is plenty of heat for the high-pressure system to trap.
    • As that trapped heat continues to warm, the system acts like a lid on a pot — earning the name “heat dome.”
    • In the pacific northwest, the heat and the drought are working in concert, exacerbating the problem and causing temperature records to fall day after day

Favourable conditions for heat wave:

  • Transportation  /  prevalence  of  hot  dry  air  over  a  region: there should be a region  of warm  dry  air  and  appropriate  flow  pattern  for  transporting  hot  air  over the region.
  • Absence of moisture in the upper atmosphere (as the presence of moisture restricts the temperature rise).
  • The skyshould be practically cloudless (to allow maximum insulation over the region).
  • Large amplitude anti-cyclonic flow over the area: heat waves generally develop over northwest india and spread gradually eastwards &  southwards  but  not  westwards  (since  the  prevailing  winds  during  the  season  are westerly  to  north westerly).

Question: what is heat wave? What is the criteria for conditions to be classified as a heat wave ?

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