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The Pacific Northwest is experiencing record-high temperatures due to a “heat dome” that should be a once every-few-thousand-year event — but which could occur more often and with more severity due to climate change.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper with Axios climate reporter Andrew Freedman, to better understand this weather event's science, the dangers posed to human health and infrastructure and how the definition of "normal climate" is changing.

Go deeper

Study: Urban extreme heat exposure has increased by 200% since the 1980s

A man quenches his thirst in New Delhi, India, May 27, 2020. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Climate change and population growth have led to a worldwide surge in the number of people exposed to hazardous levels of heat, according to a sweeping study that examines 13,115 cities from 1983 to 2016.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is the top weather-related killer in the U.S. each year, and studies show that as the world continues to warm in response to greenhouse gas emissions, heat exposure will become so severe that it will reduce economic output in many regions.

Oct 5, 2021 - Science

Nobel Prize in physics awarded for climate change research

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi for reseach on climate change. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Scientists Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi received the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their work in predicting global warming and the understanding of complex physical systems.

Why it matters: These researchers helped describe and predict the long-term behavior of complex systems, like the Earth's climate, which are characterized by randomness and disorder and are difficult to understand.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.