Research: The North American heat wave is almost unimaginable…

Onderzoek: hittegolf in Noord-Amerika zo goed als ondenkbaar zonder klimaatverandering

The heat accompanied the fires.
Photo: via Reuters

The extreme heat that was occurring in western North America, where temperatures reach nearly 50 degrees, would have been virtually impossible without climate change. This is the result of a study conducted by an international group of climate researchers. 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 this data shows that the last heat wave was an event likely to happen only once every 1,000 years.

“This is the statistical equivalent of real bad luck,” a news report said. “What we are seeing is unprecedented. It is not normal to break four or five degrees Celsius for rising temperatures,” said researcher Frederic Otto of Oxford University.

Every five to ten years

Canada and the northwestern United States have faced unprecedented heat in recent weeks. About 260 kilometers northeast of Vancouver, a temperature of 49.6 degrees was recorded in the Canadian municipality of Lytton. 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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