Climate change made B.C., Alberta heat wave 150 times more likely, study concludes

According to The Vancouver Sun, an international group of scientists can confirm that the recent wave of heat waves throughout Western Canada was a result of climate change.

The heat waves blew records and contributed to hundreds of deaths. The World Weather Attribution released a paper that stated that “even if the world meets greenhouse gas reduction targets, weather that saw temperatures crest to 45 C in many parts of B.C. could reoccur every five to 10 years” (Vancouver Sun). 

Co-author, Sarah Kew of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, stated, “An event of this extremity would have been virtually impossible in the past. But we are going to be seeing more intense and more frequent heat waves in the future.” British Columbia and Alberta reached record high temperatures at the end of June and in early July. In fact, the community of Lytton reached nearly fifty degrees Celsius and was engulfed days later by a wildfire. During the heat, the number of sudden and unexpected deaths tripled. Weather is believed to be a significant contributor to this.

“We’ve never seen a jump in record temperature like the one in this heat wave,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of Oxford University. “These are incredibly high temperatures for these fairly temperate regions.” Weather was so extreme that scientists have two hypotheses: the heat was just bad weather luck, or that climate change “has crossed a new threshold” and is becoming more and more prevalent.



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