Article Entry

22 Jul 2011


Friday’s Food for Thought: It’s Hot Outside and What is a Heat Dome?

Added by Category: Friday's Food for Thought, General

Welcome to the Friday’s Food for Thought post from got geoint? We hope everyone is spending as much time as possible in the air conditioning as we are experiencing a massive heat wave on the east coast. So, yes, it’s a bit hot outside. And, you all may have noticed a new term has popped up in the media about the heat wave: dome of heat. So, what is exactly is a dome of heat? Are we stuck in a fish bowl-like environment with all the heat and toxic air being contained under a bubble? We will aim to explore this and much more about the concept of heat waves in this week’s FFFFT post. We hope you enjoy and stay cool this weekend! Oh and if you missed the USGIF YPG Speed NEtworking event, here’s a nice wrap up article complete with photos and all.

Heat Wave 2011 Pushes Power Grids Toward Capacity
The monster heat wave now enveloping the East Coast is pushing power grids toward capacity as temperatures hover around 100 degrees and energy consumption strains the system. The nation’s power grid is under tremendous stress from the so-called heat dome, which is a shroud of high pressure that is trapping and compressing hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico, with at least one city already resorting to intentional blackouts. New York City’s Consolidated Edison reports that its system is at 93 percent capacity. The New York area will presumably break its record for power consumption today, and break the weekend power consumption record Saturday. The city can reportedly expect power outages to pop up during the next few days. Check out more from ABC News here.

What is a “Heat Dome”?
The heat dome that’s been baking most of the country this week is now clamped firmly over the eastern U.S. The “dome” is actually a large high pressure a system with hot temperatures pushing down on especially moist air, close to the ground. Eli Jacks of the National Weather Service (NWS), tells the Associated Press that when combined with cloudless skies, and the sun’s higher summertime angle, the effect is what we’ve seen this week. It’s the combined effect of the tilt of the earth toward the sun and the lack of rain that forces the ground air to sink, compress, and heat up to what we see now. Learn more about heat domes here.

Under the Dome by Stephen King
Did anyone check out Stephen King’s 2009 thriller “Under the Dome?” It’s a story about a small Maine town that is abruptly and gruesomely separated from the outside world by an invisible, semipermeable barrier of unknown origin (a dome if you will). The immediate appearance of the barrier causes a number of injuries and fatalities, and much, much more. So if you ever wondered what it would be like to live under a dome, this book will give you some insights and here’s a little spoiler: it won’t be pretty.

What About the Geodesic Dome?
Remember when Epcot Center opened up and the Spaceship Earth geo-dome seemed like the coolest thing on, well, earth? So where did this design come from? According to Wikipedia, it is based on the geodesic dome design, which is a spherical or partial-spherical shell structure or lattice shell based on a network of great circles (geodesics) on the surface of a sphere. The geodesics intersect to form triangular elements that have local triangular rigidity and also distribute the stress across the structure. When completed to form a complete sphere, it is a geodesic sphere. So, if you put in a solid HVAC system into a geodesic dome and cranked of the heat would it then be a heat dome?

Songs About Heat
Once again, the obvious is too simple. As you can guess, we will not be featuring Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” — it’s just way too easy of a choice. We have decided to highlight some songs about heat that are a bit “left of the dial” if you will. We hope you enjoy and seriously try to stay cool this weekend!

The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat

Lee “Scratch” Perry – City Too Hot

Siouxsie & The Banshees – Melt

Captain Beefheart – Hot Head

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