Heat wave: As B.C. bakes, what role does climate change play?

British Columbia is baking beneath excessive warmth, with forecasts predicting the worst is but to come back.

The unseasonably scorching climate has many asking whether or not the warmth wave may be attributed to climate change.

Climatologists are cautious of attempting to attribute any particular excessive climate occasion to climate change — although the evolving area of occasion attribution is starting to change that.

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But there’s large settlement amongst scientists that there are hyperlinks between the altering climate and the frequency and severity of utmost climate occasions.

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“We know with great certainty that warmer temperatures come with climate change,” Faron Anslow, climate evaluation and monitoring lead with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), advised Global News.

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“So to start off with you can kind of picture this background temperature warming, and then you add a hot event like this and you’re already that much closer to those all time highs under the same conditions.”

Average annual temperatures have climbed in British Columbia in current many years, based on the information.

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National Resources Canada’s 2019 Canada’s Changing Climate Report, discovered each the imply annual temperatures within the province rose by 1.9 C between 1948 and 2016. The imply summer season temperature climbed 1.7 C, whereas winter temperatures had been up by 3.7 C.

“Extreme temperature changes (in Canada), both in observations and future projections, are consistent with warming,” the report states. “Extreme warm temperatures have become hotter, while extreme cold temperatures have become less cold.”

Data from the federal government of British Columbia discovered annual most temperatures have climbed by 0.7 C within the final century, whereas annual minimal temperatures had been up by a median of two C.

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“It’s what we can expect with climate change. So as the climate continues to warm, which we have plenty of evidence that’s going to be the case, we’re going to see more events like this,” Anslow stated.

According to the International Panel on Climate Change, world temperatures must be held to 1.5 C above pre-industrial ranges — the aggressive purpose of the Paris Agreement — with a purpose to keep away from the worst impacts of climate change.

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Temperatures have already risen by 1 C, based on the IPCC, and are projected to succeed in 1.5 C as early as 2030.

Missing that concentrate on, based on the NRCC’s modelling, may have clear impacts for temperatures in B.C. sooner or later that change drastically by how a lot the Earth warms.

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The NRCC report projected that lacking the goal however holding temperatures beneath 2 C — nonetheless an aggressive goal, however seen as a vital tipping level by the IPCC — may see B.C.’s annual highest temperature climb by one other 1.7 C.

It may additionally include an annual common enhance of about 1.6 scorching days by by 2031-2050 — with little change by 2081-2100.

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But beneath a state of affairs the place carbon emissions proceed to rise at their present tempo, annual most temperatures may spike by 2.3 C by 2031-2050, and as excessive as 6.7 C by 2081-2100, based on the NRCC.

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The variety of scorching days in a median yr may climb by 2.5 in 2031-2050, and by a staggering 16 by 2019-2100, beneath that state of affairs.

Under the below-2 C state of affairs nationally, what was as soon as a one-in-50-year warmth occasion is projected to develop into a one-in-10-year occasion, whereas a what was a one-in-five-year warmth occasion may very well be one thing Canadians see each 5 yr, it discovered.

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The PCIC additionally appeared on the “business as usual” state of affairs for its own 2017 report to Metro Vancouver, projecting a median temperature enhance of three.7 C for the Lower Mainland by 2050, and hike of 6 C by 2080.

That identical mannequin projected a 19 per cent drop in summer season rain by 2050, rising to 29 per cent by 2080.

“The number of these hot days where the temperature is above 30 degrees is going to go up quite rapidly,” Anslow stated.

“So locations where you have maybe 10 days where it’s this hot, it’s going to go up to twice that number or even more in the next 50 years or so.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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