Shomporko Online News Desk: As significant swaths of the Western United States and central Canada continue to suffer from the scorching heat, numerous climate and environmental experts are urging governments and communities at all levels to step up mitigation and adaptation measures in response to climate change’s unavoidable effects.
During the heat dome’s initial bombardment in Western Canada in late June, dozens of heat records were broken, including over 60 in B.C. on a single day.
Several times during the heatwave, the little British Columbian village of Lytton, which was devastated by a devastating wildfire last week, set Canada’s warmest temperature record – up to a scorching 49.6 C.
The BC Coroners Service recorded upwards of 700 deaths over the week during B.C.’s heat wave — three times as much as what would be normal during that period.
Now, as the heatwave passes through central Canada — baking parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta — as well as setting forests ablaze in the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest, climate scientists are saying that the time is now for much more aggressive action to protect against such extreme weather events.
Ian Mauro, the executive director of the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg, said that extreme weather events like the Western Canada heatwave could potentially be happening every five to 10 years once global warming passes a certain threshold that’s expected to be surpassed in the 2040s.
Scientists have suggested that the most recent heatwave was an event that happens once every 1,000 years.
“We’ve been saying this for a number of years, climate scientists have been saying it for decades,” said Mauro.
“Now we are in the era where our projections about the future are playing out in real-time, and the extreme heat that Canada has faced this year is an indication of climate change happening in real-time, impacting real communities and environments.”
William Cheung, a professor at UBC and director of its Institute for Oceans and Fisheries, said that while we can’t predict when these extreme weather events will occur in the future, there is widespread certainty that they will eventually happen again — in increasing frequency and intensity.
He cited a recent analysis from a group of international scientists from Canada and abroad that argued that climate change made Western Canada’s heatwave 150 times more likely.
“I think what this suggests is that we need to conduct excellent climate mitigation more generally and more broadly,” Cheung said, “because we are pumping more carbon dioxide and it would just rise because of the intensity of these kinds of events.”
Even though Canada and other countries with geographies more vulnerable to climate change are only now beginning to see the effects of years of human pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, Mauro believes that now is the “perfect moment” for governments, industry, and the community to support what is needed to address the rapidly changing climate.
Source_ The Star