Climate change has increased the likelihood of a heat wave in Canada and the United States 150 times, according to the World Weather Attribution Research Project (WWA).
Scientists have compared temperatures in late June and early July with historical data from the early 19th century, and the data shows that the recent heat wave, even with current temperatures rising due to climate change, was an event likely to happen only once in a while. It will happen for a thousand years.
“This is the statistical equivalent of real bad luck,” said researcher Frederic Otto of the University of Oxford. “What we’re seeing is unprecedented. It’s not normal for warming records to be broken by four or five degrees Celsius.”
Canada and the northwestern United States have faced unprecedented heat in recent weeks. A temperature of 49.6 degrees was recorded in the Canadian municipality of Lytton, 260 kilometers northeast of Vancouver. The previous record in Canada was 45 degrees.
The study, which has not yet been published in a scientific journal, also warns against the recurrence of this exceptional atmospheric phenomenon. Global warming of two degrees Celsius could cause such a heat wave to occur every five to ten years, rather than once every thousand years on average.
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