An event such as the Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave is still rare or extremely rare in today's climate, yet would be virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. As warming continues, it will become a lot less rare. — World Weather Attribution
An event such as the Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave is still rare or extremely rare in today's climate, yet would be virtually impossible without human-caused climate change. As warming continues, it will become a lot less rare. — World Weather Attribution
Western heat wave virtually impossible without climate change, researchers say, urging action
  • The scorching heat wave that brought triple-digit temperatures to the Pacific Northwest and western Canada was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change, according to a new analysis.
  • The temperature records were so extreme that researchers said it was difficult to quantify just how rare the heat wave was.
  • The researchers urged adaptation measures that account for the rising risk of heat waves, as well as more ambitious targets to drastically reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.
The deadly heat wave that brought triple-digit temperatures to the Pacific Northwest and western Canada and killed hundreds of people was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change, according to a new analysis by an international team of 27 scientists.

The temperature records were so extreme — 116 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland, Oregon, and 121 degrees Fahrenheit in Canada’s British Columbia — that researchers said it was difficult to quantify just how rare the heat wave was. The team, working under the umbrella of Oxford University-based World Weather Attribution, estimated it was a once-in-a-millennium event.

The scientists, who are based in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., the Netherlands, France, Germany and Switzerland, estimated that human-caused climate change increased the likelihood of such a heat wave by at least 150 times.

“An event such as the Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave is still rare or extremely rare in today’s climate, yet would be virtually impossible without human-caused climate change,” the team of scientists wrote. “As warming continues, it will become a lot less rare.”


The researchers urged adaptation measures that account for the rising risk of heat waves, including action plans that incorporate early warning systems for high temperatures, as well as more ambitious targets to drastically reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers also found that in a world with 2 degrees Celsius of warming, which could happen this century unless there are significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, such a heat event would occur about every five to 10 years.
Read the full article: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/07/08/western-heat-wave-virtually-impossible-without-climate-change-researchers-say.html