A village in Canada just set the country’s highest temperature on record.
On Sunday, Lytton, British Columbia, hit a scorching 46.1 C, breaking the previous record which was set in 1937 when Saskatchewan reported 45 C.
Monday could turn out even hotter than Sunday in many parts of B.C. as most of western Canada grapples with a major heatwave. Environment Canada has issued heat warnings all over B.C., Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan. Temperatures aren’t expected to cool off in B.C. until Wednesday, while Alberta can expect rising temperatures into next week, with some areas expected to peak near 40 C.
Experts are often wary of attributing specific weather events to climate change, but many are saying the record-breaking heat could be the result of it, and there’s widespread agreement that the climate crisis will result in more frequent and consistent extreme weather events.
“We know with great certainty that warmer temperatures come with climate change,” Faron Anslow, climate analysis and monitoring lead with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), told Global News.
According to Natural Resource Canada’s Canada’s Changing Climate report, published in 2019, average temperatures across Canada increased by 1.7 C between 1948 and 2016. The number jumps to 2.3 C for northern Canada.
“It is virtually certain that Canada’s climate has warmed and that it will warm further in the future,” the report says. “Extreme temperature changes, both in observations and future projections, are consistent with warming.”
According to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, extreme heat waves will likely be more common and will come earlier in the year.
“I know you can't take one event and say it's directly connected with climate change,” Wagstaffe told CBC about B.C.'s heatwave. “This is consistent with what climate change will continue to do to our province.”
In 2015, nearly 200 countries, Canada included, signed onto the Paris Agreement, an effort to limit the average rise in global temperatures since the pre-industrial era to below 2C. But even if countries pursue ambitious climate crisis plans, it’s unlikely we’ll hit the goal outlined in the agreement.
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