Climate change makes the Northwest Heat Wave 150 times more likely to break records

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Climate change makes the Northwest Heat Wave 150 times more likely to break records

Yes, blame climate change.

Human-caused global warming triggered a heat wave that may have killed hundreds of people in the Pacific Northwest and Canada last week.

According to an analysis by World Weather Attribution, the massive increase in greenhouse gases into the atmosphere increases the unprecedented weather event by 150 times. A team of global scientists simply concluded that a severe heat wave would be “practically impossible” without climate change, which had already warmed the planet by about 2.2 ˚F (1.2 ˚ C).

Scientists have long resisted climate change, and maintained the general premise that it would cause heat waves, famines, fires and storms to become more frequent and intense. But more satellite data records, increased computing power, and higher-resolution climate impressions have made researchers feel more confident in describing within days, that global warming is particularly devastating. have to do it. (See 10 Advanced Technologies 2020: Climate Change Attribution.)

Last week’s extreme temperatures shattered all-time heat records in cities and towns across the region, knocked out thousands of homes, and left more than 2,000 people in Washington and Oregon with heat-related illnesses. Put in the rooms

Authorities have so far reported more than 100 heat-related deaths in those states, according to various media outlets. In addition, there were approximately 500 “sudden and unexpected deaths” in British Columbia, more than 300 over the next five days.

Most likely, high global temperatures easily exacerbated the effects of last week’s unusual environmental conditions, when a so-called heat dome trapped in hot air over a wide area of ​​the region. went. If so, similar events could occur once or twice a decade if the temperature rises to 3.6 ˚F (2 ˚ C), the researchers found.

As disturbing, disturbing as it is, the possibility that greenhouse gas emissions have pushed the climate system beyond some unknown and somewhat perceived threshold, where planetary heat is now faster than expected. Causing an increase. Further research is needed to evaluate this theory. Researchers say this could mean that the heat waves will exceed the forecast level of the current climate model.

“You don’t have to break four or five degrees Celsius (seven to nine degrees Fahrenheit),” said Frederick Otto, co-director of the Institute for Climate Change at Oxford University. . “It is an extraordinary event that we cannot rule out the possibility that we are experiencing extreme heat today which we only expect to increase global warming.”

Another heat wave is expected to triple the temperature in the northwest in the coming days.

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