Shomporko Online News Desk: According to an expert, a suffocating heatwave affecting parts of Western Canada is uncommon because of the cold evening temperatures it is bringing.
Temperatures are expected to be higher overnight than they would be during the day for this time of year, according to Simon Donner, a professor in the geography department at the University of British Columbia.
The average daytime high in British Columbia at this time of year is around 22 C, but the mercury is expected to reach 34 this week, he said. More critically, the nightly low is expected to be 24 C, which is two degrees warmer than the average daily temperature, according to Donner.
“That’s how unusual this is,” he said in an interview. “It’s going to be warmer overnight than it usually is in the middle of the day.”
Donner said warming nighttime temperatures are “like a fingerprint of climate change.”
Environment Canada has warned that the heat wave won’t lift for days, although parts of British Columbia and Yukon could see some relief sooner. Sixty temperature records fell Sunday in B.C., including in the village of Lytton, where the mercury reached 46.6 C — breaking the all-time Canadian high of 45 C, set in Saskatchewan in 1937.
Donner called the heat wave unprecedented in some respects.
“The heat wave is not just incredible in its magnitude but in its duration,” he said.
“You don’t usually have this type of extreme heat lasting for a full week. This is terrible. It’s too hot, too early in the year.”
As the temperatures rise, he said there will be some cool and normal days but there will be more extremes, which is a manifestation of climate change.
British Columbia has been warming by about 1.1 C in the summer per century, said Rachel White. The average temperature in the province in June around 1920 would have been between 15 and 25 degrees, added White, who is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences.
She claims that the warmer temperatures have caused a shift in the baseline data.
“I mean, everything is getting a little warmer, and then we have this extremely intense event,” she explained.
One of the concerns scientists are considering is how the baseline temperature influences the strength of the region’s so-called heat dome, which is expected to last several days.
Andreanne Doyon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said the rise in baseline temperatures combined with the current hot wave will have domino effects, citing recent flooding in Pemberton as an example.
Source_ The Canadian Press