Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’

Record-breaking consecutive 100-degree-plus days left the region staggering and leaves it to experts to explain the phenomenon and prospects for more of the same in coming years.

“In a climate-changed world, the things that once seemed impossible are not just possible, they are probable.”

Those words come from on-air weather and climate change expert Jeff Berardelli wrapping up a piece for CBSN.

Berardelli had told the CBS cable network anchor that the temperature in the Pacific Northwest has increased 3 to 4o F in the past century, leading to expectations in the future for seven to 10 days per year of temperatures over 100oF. He attributed the historic high-temperature readings across the U.S Pacific Northwest and western Canada to an “omega block”:  a “blocking pattern or traffic jam in the atmosphere” that impedes strong weather systems from moving rapidly from west to east:  Instead, they ‘get stuck’ in place.”

“Almost unbelievable, even for meteorologists,” Berardelli says of the persistent heat that plagued the region June 26-28.

“We can certainly say that heat waves are increasing as a result of climate change,” says Steve Vavrus of the University of Wisconsin. Colorado assistant state climatologist Becky Bolinger points to “a time 30 years ago, 40 years ago, when it was uncommon to get 100-degree days every single year, and that is much more common now.”  They and other scientists in the video find a link to climate change.

Kai Kornhuber of Columbia University says in the latest “This is Not Cool” video that the result is that “a weather pattern that was harmless in the past is now leading to very extreme conditions.”