Guest Speakers

Nature Matters: Where Nature and Culture Meet

A lively monthly conversation about the intersection of nature and culture, takes place on the fourth Thursdays of the month at 7 p.m., October through May, at the Fort George Brewery + Public House in Astoria, Oregon. Doors open at 6 p.m. to purchase dinner or beverages at the George before the event. The series delves into the many ways that human beings look to the natural world for inspiration, sustenance and survival - the intersection of nature and culture. The collaborative series is hosted by Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Lewis & Clark National Park Association and the North Coast Watershed Association in partnership with the Fort George Brewery + Public House and is free to the public.

Graph with colors of yellow, green and blue. Lines and colors indicating heat, yellow warmest.
Graphic of heat dome.

Dr. Paul Loikith

PNW Heat Dome: What Caused it & What is in Store for the Future?
7 p.m on Thursday, March 23, 2023

In late June 2021, the Pacific Northwest experienced a heat wave of historical proportions. The feature, also known as a "heat dome", developed and strengthened over the course of several days due to a complex combination of weather events spanning the North Pacific. Several locations broke their all-time high temperature record, often by several degrees. Impacts of the heat were profound and tragic on humans and the natural environment, with hundreds of people losing their lives across the region. In this talk, Dr. Paul Loikith, will break down the progression of meteorological factors that caused this extraordinary heat wave.

During this heat wave, Canada set a new national high temperature record of 121 degrees while Washington set a new state record of 120 and Oregon tied its previous all-time high of 119 degrees. The most influential meteorological factor was a massive, record-breaking area of hot high pressure above the Earth's surface centered over central British Columbia. The feature, also known as a "heat dome, developed and strengthened over the course of several days due to a complex combination of weather events spanning the North Pacific. We will look at how the strength, location, and timing of this massive ridge of high pressure contributed to the extreme heat experienced at the surface through several mechanisms and why this event was so much more severe from previous extreme heat waves. The state-of-the-science understanding of the role that global warming played in the event and what this heat wave tells us about the risk of future extreme heat across the Pacific Northwest will also be discussed.Dr. Paul Loikith is an associate professor of weather and climate science in the Department of Geography at Portland State University where he is the director of the Portland State Climate Science Lab. Dr. Loikith has a B.S. in Meteorology and a PhD in Atmospheric Science from Rutgers University. Prior to joining the PSU faculty in 2015, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Dr. Loikith's research focuses broadly on the atmospheric drivers of extreme weather and climate events at regional to global scales and how these drivers are influenced by a warming climate.


Upcoming Nature Matters Discussions:

November - No Nature Matters program - Thanksgiving day
December 22, 2022 - Rescheduled for Next year - Sea Level Rise on the Oregon Coast: Community Science and Resilience
January 26, 2023 - The Big One: Cascadia Earthquakes and Tsunamis
Februray 23, 2023 - 10th Anniversary of Oregon's Marine Reserves: What have we learned?
March 23, 2023 - PNW Heat Dome: What caused it & what's in store for the future?
April 27, 2023 -Backyard Pollinators
May 25, 2023 - Migratory Birds

Last updated: March 3, 2023

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Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
92343 Fort Clatsop Road

Astoria, OR 97103


503 861-2471
Rangers are available to answer your calls between the hours of 9 - 5 PST.

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