Parts of Africa are sitting in a developing “heat dome” in which massive amounts of heat are being stored over long stretches of the planet. The heat dome’s overall effect is to make the planet hotter in general. According to the British Met Office, the center of the dome is in the Amazon Basin, where temperatures are rising about 3 degrees Celsius a year on average.
“This zone may be the scene of some regular [weather] disturbance in years to come,” said David Mitchell, an associate professor at the University of Leeds. The movement of the heat dome, he added, “may in fact disrupt the seasonal pattern that the planet is following.”
But any disturbances also have the potential to get more intense. In that sense, heat dome adherents may have more reasons than ever to be skeptical about global warming, even as they experience intense weather events.
Heat acclimation is partly dependent on what temperatures your body can withstand. Even though we all know that Africa is warm, the continent can still handle climate stresses well. The weather of 2011, for example, was colder than usual in the Amazon, but above-average in East Africa.
In the rest of the world, though, the potential for dangerous weather events, especially in already humid and humid parts of the world, is much greater. Hydrologists already know that water can be drained more readily from areas affected by extreme precipitation. As greenhouse gas emissions rise, that trend will only continue.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a 2017 study, said that 1-in-5 communities in the United States were considered at risk from flooding caused by climate change. Hotter temperatures, increased frequency of storms, and shifts in the jet stream (which can move moisture up and down) are all expected to worsen that situation. If they do, the ramifications for those communities could be huge.
See the interactive map of Heat and Heat Exposure by Area here.