What is the heat wave recorded in Canada and the United States?

What is the heat wave recorded in Canada and the United States?

Unprecedented temperatures have been reached in Canada, which is not yet ready for such a heat wave. The situation poses risks to human health. It reminds us that heat waves are part of climate change.

« In June 2021, temperature records fell in several cities in the United States and Canada, with the National Weather Service ‘historic and dangerous’ during heat waves. », Written by NASA Laboratory.

The situation makes headlines in North America at the end of June 2021. Since the weekend of June 26-27, the Pacific Northwest has been experiencing unprecedented heat waves. On Sunday, the ECCC (Canada’s Meteorological and Environment Agency) announced that the country had reached a national record in the small town of Lytton. When reaching 46.6 degrees Celsius. This temperature is the highest reached domestically in 84 years, breaking the previous record of 3 degrees.

But now the heat wave continues, this Tuesday, June 29, the company reports that this record is still broken: in Lytton, peaked 47.9 degrees Celsius. « Summer of all records », The company specifies. This is because the record reflects an increase in temperature throughout the region. Portland Airport has arrived 46.6 degrees Until June 28: ” Three days ago, the hottest temperature was 41.6 degrees, which reached in August 1981 and July 1965 .

Serious consequences

Such a heat wave is not just a heat wave: these temperatures pose real dangers to human health. High temperatures are dangerous – heat waves are extreme weather events That alone will cause more deaths.

As a result, the heat wave is putting pressure on emergency services in Canada: ” Today we have answered many medical calls related to heat. Our company is not alone. Ambulance is in high demand due to demand. We urge people to postpone their outdoor activities, find suitable shelter, and stay away from heat until the temperature drops. », Warning Sheriff of Oregon. Schools are also being forced to close in many places.

The heat wave, at the end of June 2021, affected the entire US / Pacific Northwest. // Source: Earth Laboratory / NASA

Not only did it have a direct impact on human health: many infrastructures that were not built to withstand such heat actually began to melt. This is it Power cables, For example. This has led to many power cuts, which cut off access to air conditioning and cooling devices and pose a risk to human health.

In more detail, the situation illustrates the lack of preparation for a region that is not accustomed to heat. Climate adaptation expert Vivek Shandas mentions with the American media Kismodo, Has a “relatively limited integration of home cooling technologies” in the Pacific Northwest. Only 30% of homes in Seattle have central air conditioning, and 60% in Portland; These figures are very low once you leave the urban areas. ” People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly and anyone living in apartment buildings are most affected by this heat. »

A trend due to climate change

Climate analysts use the “sigma” scale to determine if the heat is a normal weather deviation or if it is abnormal. In this case, the heart of the waves beats 3 to 4.4 sigma. As Tell in detail Climate analyst Jeff Fordelli, i.e. the recorded temperature is more than 99.99% of the predicted values, or one in 10,000 is likely to occur. Climate change has an impact: even in the presence of local weather factors, it increases the risks of such anomalies and may normalize them in the future.

« Climate change makes not only impossible, but also possible », Notes Jeff Fordelli. This is because although sometimes exceptional local weather events always occur, they now worsen the general situation in conjunction with the long and global events of climate change. It is an important synergy to understand why we are talking about “change” or “deregulation” of the climate: ” A small long-term increase in average temperature leads to a proportional increase in extreme heat events. This increases the heat waves », Remember Climate Central.

An increase in average temperature leads to an increase in the risk of extreme heat. // Source: Climate Central

In short, we have known for many years: Climate change emphasizes both Frequency, The Temperature And this Length Heat waves. Moreover, it is not futuristic, but an analysis of the present. According to a study published in May 2021, 37% of heat deaths are already caused by heat caused by anthropogenic climate change (due to human activities).

These heat episodes contribute to severe drought, which greatly affects western America. This is what created the catastrophic fire in California last summer and the already recorded 2020.

In North America, ” Current research expects the frequency and duration of heat waves to increase throughout much of the United States, and analysis of thermal episodes reveals that a significant trend of increasing frequency of nighttime episodes is already observed in the Pacific Northwest », A study mentioned Published Since 2013, this Confident First. This phenomenon affects many parts of the world: France is also getting warmer and hotter.

Global warming and climate change are not (or will not be) brief things. The heat wave currently affecting the Pacific Northwest is not only an urgent mitigation of the causes of climate change, but also a question of planning adaptations in homes and infrastructure because the lack of preparation for countries not used to heat – like Canada – is highly marked in an unprecedented episode like this.

Photo credit of someone:
Earth Laboratory / NASA

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