By Anders Lorenzen
Research indicates that extreme weather, like the heat wave Canada is suffering, will become the norm not the exception
From the UK to Oman many places around the world are experiencing record heatwaves and droughts.
But in Canada, the heatwave has so far claimed the lives of 54 people as scorching temperatures and high humidity levels take their toll.
The heatwave began last Friday (1st of July) in southern Quebec; the people impacted were those who suffered from health problems and had no access to air condition.
The premier of the province, Philippe Couillard, warned that these events are likely to become more common as the planet warms: “It’s tragic, but whenever there are heatwaves like this – and we will have more of them because of climate change – it is the weak and vulnerable who are affected first. The good news is that according to the weather reports, this heatwave will break in a few days. But we have to expect episodes like this every year.”
On Wednesday, in one of the worst impacted areas, the city of Montreal where 28 of the 54 lives were lost, the temperature reached a high of 34C with humidity at 40C. Elsewhere in the region, it surpassed 35C. In 2002 the city became one of the first in North America to adopt a heat response plan. A plan that was refined in 2010 after a heatwave resulted in the death of over a 100 people in the area.
Heatwaves like this are set to become increasingly common as the planet warms, research suggests. Already in 2018, a string of new heat records has been set.