“We’ve loaded the weather dice:” Climate change linked to heat wave in British Columbia | iINFOnews


PHOTO FILE – Kamloops


June 27, 2021 – 3:30 p.m.

A UBC climate expert says there is “absolutely” a link between current extreme temperatures in British Columbia and climate change.

“We loaded the weather dice by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This greatly increases the likelihood of heat waves; just like smoking causes lung cancer, we know climate change causes more heat waves, ”said Simon Donner, climate professor at UBC.

“Your doctor cannot tell you that smoking is the cause of lung cancer, but it is certain that if you continue to smoke your chances increase and that is what happens with the climate.”

This is the type of event that scientists have been saying for years will become more common due to climate change, he said.

“It’s so early in the year for this type of heat.

Forecasts across the Thompson Okanagan call for temperatures above 40 ° C for the weekend and next week. Environment Canada currently has a heat warning in effect, and Doug Lundquist, meteorologist at Environment Canada, said there was a chance that an all-time high temperature record for Canada could be broken somewhere in British Columbia this week. next.

“Usually the temperature records are broken slightly. Usually it’s like a photo finish, you know like a 100 meter sprint. This heat wave is like Usain Bolt, we are talking about breaking temperature records this weekend of 2 ° C, ”Donner said.

The forecast in Kamloops is also 15 ° C warmer than normal, “so it’s really unprecedented,” he said.

Until the world dramatically cuts greenhouse gases, these types of warming trends will continue. Warmer temperatures also increase health risks and indoor forest fires, he said.

“There are a few key things especially for the Okanagan to be concerned about, our summers aren’t just getting warmer, on average the forecast is they’re going to be a bit drier and when you combine that with the snowmelt earlier in the winter… that’s what really increases the threat to agriculture, water in the soil and obviously the threat of fires, ”and smoke, he said.

Smoke from wildfires across Canada has caused hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, he said.

Wildfires in British Columbia are only expected to get worse. In a previous interview with iNFOnews, UBC forestry professor Lori Daniels and her friend, a University of California researcher, visited the Thompson-Okanagan three years ago, and he told her that the Okanagan looked like the California of his youth.

READ MORE: What Kamloops, Okanagan Can Learn From US Wildfires

Warmer weather also means ticks could spread Lyme disease in British Columbia, as they die in cold weather and the risk of thunderstorms increases, Donner said.

The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices recently reported that climate change will add more than $ 100 billion a year to health care costs in Canada by mid-century and that the health effects will likely be the greatest. serious in those who are already disadvantaged.

READ MORE: Health costs from climate change will exceed $ 100 billion by mid-century: report

The report draws on some of the most recent research to model how a less predictable climate with more extreme events could affect the health of Canadians. He looked at two cases: one in which little is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and one in which global warming is kept below 2.5 degrees C.

The report took into account air quality, new diseases and warmer temperatures.

– With files from The Canadian Press

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