Tuesday, May 24

The UN Warns of the Great Heat Wave in North America: “So many records have been broken it’s hard to keep track” | Climate change | Climate and Environment

The World Meteorological Organization (OMM), dependent on the UN, has launched an alert on Tuesday in the face of the “exceptional and dangerous heat wave” that is hitting the northwestern United States and western Canada, areas that are more used to the cold than to the high temperatures. The WMO has warned that “extreme temperatures represent a great threat to the health of people, agriculture and the environment”, especially in areas not used to heat and where the inhabitants do not usually have air conditioning equipment.

47.9 degrees Celsius in British Columbia (Canada), 41.7 in the American city of Seattle, 44.4 in Portland … The WMO has tried to count the records that are being smashed. But he has admitted: “So many have been beaten that it is difficult to follow up.” The temperatures that are occurring “are more typical of the Middle East than of a region that is home to the Rocky Mountains and the Glacier National Park,” added this organization, which has pointed out the existing risk of melting glaciers and landslides. land that can be generated with that process.

The municipality of Lytton, in Canadian British Columbia, has so far been the epicenter of the heat in this country, reaching those 47.9 degrees last Monday. Lytton’s average temperature in June is 24 degrees. In British Columbia, 60 heat records were broken last Sunday; the next day, Monday, another 59 marks were surpassed.

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The WMO forecast is that they will continue to exceed 45 degrees for at least five more days in the area. Experts estimate that the heat will begin to subside in Canada on Friday. Armel Castellan, Canadian meteorologist, explained this Tuesday through a statement that “less than 40% of the homes have air conditioning on the coast [de Canadá], people are having to go to libraries and shopping centers to find a couple of hours of air conditioning ”. He himself maintains that he has been “sleeping in a tent.” The apocalyptic scene in the area is completed by the lightning that is also falling in recent days, which is increasing the risk of forest fires. Authorities have banned bonfires, fireworks and the use of fireplaces throughout the province of British Columbia.

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The WMO recalled that less than two weeks ago another historic heat wave occurred in California, in the southeastern US The increase in intensity and number of heat waves is one of the consequences of climate change on which experts have warned for years. It already happens in Spain. And it is also occurring in other areas less accustomed to high temperatures.

Omar Baddour, head of the WMO’s Climate Surveillance and Policies division, stressed the same idea this Tuesday: “heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense as concentrations of greenhouse gases lead to a increase in global temperatures ”. In addition, these phenomena “are beginning earlier and ending later and are becoming increasingly important for human health,” he added. Nikos Christidis, from the United Kingdom’s meteorological service (Met Office), added: “Without human-induced climate change, it would have been almost impossible to reach such record average June temperatures in the western United States, since that the possibilities of natural occurrence are once every tens of thousands of years ”.

The WMO has referred this Tuesday to the last major report of the IPCC, the panel of climate change experts who advise the UN, which dates back to 2018, to warn of the dangers of climate change to human health due to the increase in waves of heat. In British Columbia alone, between Friday and Monday morning, ambulances responded to 187 calls related to heat exhaustion and 52 for heat exhaustion.

Record temperatures are not only occurring in the north of the American continent, but other areas of the northern hemisphere are being hit by the heat and experiencing “exceptional conditions.” This is happening in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Eastern Europe, Iran and the northwest of the Indian continent. In addition, western Russia and around the Caspian Sea are experiencing “unusually high” temperatures and where it is expected that in the next few days it will reach 40 degrees during the day and that at night it will not drop below 25.

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