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One year ago: the Pacific Northwest was gripped by historic heat wave

“Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer of Americans.”

Did you know that heat waves are “one of the deadliest natural hazards”?

By 27 June 2021, the Pacific Northwest (US and Canada) was in the midst of a “historic and dangerous” heat wave.

Daytime temperatures hit triple digits in an area where most residents do not have air conditioning in their homes, because average temps are in the 70ºs.

Average High and Low Temperature in June in SeattleOn 25 June 2021, surface temperatures in Seattle reached 120°F (49°C).  June 26th, NOAA issued excessive heat warnings for California, Oregon and Washington.

Land temps, 25 June 2021
Land temperatures, 25 June 2021. NASA.

From NASA:

Local ground stations in numerous cities reported all-time-record highs on June 27. Seattle reached 104°F (40°C) that day, the city’s hottest temperature ever recorded on any day of the year. All-time records also fell in Oregon, where Portland reached 112°F (44°C). In Canada, the town of Lytton, British Columbia, hit 116°F (47°C)—the highest temperature on record anywhere in the country on any date. The heat tops Canada’s previous record of 113°F (45°C) set in July 1937 in Yellow Grass and Midale, Saskatchewan.

But the 27th wasn’t the peak. A 121º reading in Lytton, British Columbia, on 29 June 2021 set a “world record for the most extreme high temperature ever observed north of 45 degrees latitude.”

Lytton broke Canada’s previous national heat record of 113 degrees on three consecutive days, rising to 116 Sunday, 118 Monday and finally 121 Tuesday, which tied Death Valley for the day’s highest temperature in North America.

Decades of predictions coming to pass

Blistering temperatures did not surprise climate scientists, although the degree to which records fell might have.

Since the 1970s and 1980s, climate scientists have told us that “global warming would make heat waves more frequent, long-lasting and intense.”

According to a July 2021 study by 27 international scientists:

The study, not yet peer reviewed, said that before the industrial era, the region’s late June triple-digit heat was the type that would not have happened in human civilization. And even in today’s warming world, it said, the heat was a once-in-a-millennium event…

“This study is telling us climate change is killing people,” said Ebi, who endured the blistering heat in Seattle. She said it will be many months before a death toll can be calculated from June’s blast of heat but it’s likely to be hundreds or thousands. “Heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer of Americans.”

Not enough attention on how heat waves decimate other creatures.

During late June’s heat wave in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Canada, sea creatures on the coast were cooked alive by the millions in the scorching heat…

“These ‘once in a hundred year’ weather events are really coming at us pretty quickly, one after another, which is getting pretty exhausting,” Lissa James Monberg of Hama Hama Oysters tells the Post.

The anomalies are no longer anomalous.

When will we shun climate change deniers and act?

#scitech, #society, #science  (157/365)
Daily posts, 2022-2023

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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