Much of western Canada, which is known for its sweater weather, is sweating due to the heat wave.
Record Breaking Canadian Heat
On Sunday, Canada set a new national heat record when the temperature in a tiny hamlet in British Columbia hit almost 116 degrees Fahrenheit, shattering an 84-year-old record by over 3 degrees, and dangerously hot weather is predicted to last for many more days.
"This is a huge shock to a Canadian - this seems like Las Vegas or India, not Vancouver," Chris Johnson, a criminal lawyer, remarked on Monday as temperatures inside his home reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Possible Climate Impact
Experts warn that while tying any single weather event to climate change takes rigorous attribution study, heat waves are becoming more common, longer-lasting, and hazardous throughout the planet. The early date, severity, and duration of this storm might all be attributed to rising global temperatures, according to David Phillips, a senior climatologist at Environment Canada, a government organization.
Mr. Phillips spoke to climate change and the well-documented impacts of human behavior such as carbon emissions on the globe, saying, "It's our grandparents' heat waves, but it's different now because of the human component."
Public Health Concerns
Mr. Phillips emphasized the hazards of extending the heat overnight to the public's health. He explained, "We know those evening temperatures are where individuals die from heat waves."
The sweltering temperatures have imposed additional public health burdens at a time when many Canadians are finally enjoying the summer due to the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions and the opening of new restaurant patios, beaches, and parks. The authorities now have to deal with both the loosened restrictions and keeping citizens calm.
Canadians aren't the only ones who are hot. The same high-pressure system that has baked the area has also brought record-breaking temperatures to the northwest, including 112 degrees in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday.
Emily Jubenvill, co-owner, and manager of Enderberry Farm, a farm in the northern Okanagan Valley that grows organic veggies, said she and her husband planned to avoid the heat by going to the fields 3 a.m. Tuesday to harvest vegetables. "Things are maturing faster under the stress of the heat, so we aren't able to harvest as much," she explained, warning that the flavor of crops such as lettuce may become quite bitter if subjected to high temperatures.
According to Environment Canada, Canada's previous national heat record was 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, on Sunday, Lytton, a hamlet of fewer than 300 people approximately three hours east of Vancouver, hit 46.6 degrees Celsius, or 115.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
Breaking Local Records
Under the high-pressure heat dome, other communities in southern British Columbia, such as Victoria, Kamloops, and Kelowna, are smashing local records, with temperatures expected to reach well over 100 degrees through Wednesday.
Previously, on July 5, 1937, Midale and Yellow Grass, both in rural Saskatchewan, held the Canadian record for the hottest temperature, at 113 degrees.
According to Mr. Phillips, the climatologist, western Canada's "desert heat" contrasts with the steamy "jungle heat" seen in eastern portions of the nation, similar to temperatures and humidity experienced in Florida or the Gulf of Mexico.
Heat Waves in Canada
Heat waves have increased from two per year in the 1960s to six per year by 2010, according to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, a scientific assessment produced by 13 government agencies in the United States. Heat wave season has also grown 45 days longer since the 1960s, according to the research.
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