Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Extreme weather in Canada
“Heat dome” costs human lives
Historic weather records are currently falling in Canada. In the province of British Columbia, almost 48 degrees Celsius was now measured. It will remain hot in the coming days too. The police call on people to take care of each other.
A record high heat wave in western Canada has contributed to deaths, according to police. In a 24-hour period, the authorities followed up more than 25 reports of sudden deaths, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Extreme heat is seen as a contributory cause in the majority of cases, it said. Many elderly people were among the dead.
The police called on the population to pay particular attention to risk groups. “It is imperative that we take care of each other in this extreme heat,” said Vancouver area police spokesman Mike Kalanj. Several air-conditioned centers have been set up in the west coast metropolis where people can find refuge from the heat.
In Lytton, Canada (province of British Columbia), 47.9 degrees were measured on Monday, the local weather authority tweeted. Accordingly, it was the highest temperature in the history of the country. The values are provisional and could still be updated, it said on the website of the responsible authority. In the place, the age-old record of 45 degrees in Midale (Saskatchewan) from 1937 was exceeded on Sunday with 46.6 degrees.
In the affected areas of Canada, the heat warning applies until the weekend. “The heat here is like the desert,” said Canada’s Environment Ministry’s chief climate researcher, David Phillips. “We are the second coldest country in the world and the snowiest,” he said. “We often see cold snaps and blizzards, but we are not used to such heat”. “It would be cooler in Dubai now,” he added.
“Heat dome” – only every few thousand years
In numerous places in North America, including the state of Oregon in the western United States, record local temperatures of well over 40 degrees were measured. In the US metropolises of Seattle (Washington state) and Portland (Oregon), which are usually known for their cold and wet climates, temperatures climbed to 42.2 and 46.1 degrees Celsius and thus reached the highest values in the two cities since the weather records began in 1940. The US Weather Service warned the dangerous heat was likely to persist until the middle of the week.
The phenomenon of the “heat dome” is responsible for the extreme heat, which means that the high pressure in the atmosphere holds the hot air in the region. According to weather experts at the Washington Post, the intensity of this heat dome is “statistically so rare that it can only be expected on average once every few thousand years”. However, man-made climate change “made these types of extraordinary events more likely”.