In recent weeks, Canada has been facing devastating temperature records. The worst has just happened in Lytton, a small village of about 250 people, reduced to ashes within minutes of registering the highest temperature in the whole country – 49.6 degrees Celsius.
According to local sources, 90% of the village of Lytton is lost forever … ” There won’t be much left of Lytton », Declared Jan Polderman, mayor of the village, to the BBC. « There was fire everywhere ». « Within about 15 minutes the whole village was engulfed in flames He adds.
In recent weeks, much of the west coast has experienced record temperatures, largely due to climate change. According to experts, these events are only a terrifying sign of what is yet to come… Indeed, more than a hundred forest fires are taking place at the moment in the Canadian province. 47 of them started up in the last two days alone.
The human being as the main responsible?
The researchers say that within days, they will be able to determine to what extent human-induced warming has contributed to the extreme temperatures seen in British Columbia. One interesting piece of evidence is the lack of respite the night brings (recent temperatures at midnight in British Columbia were 2 ° C warmer than daytime normal in summer).
According to them, this combination of daytime and nighttime heat is very dangerous for health. A study published last year indicates that these compound events are closely linked to greenhouse gas emissions. Natural variability and local factors such as sea breezes can increase or limit the effects of extreme heat.
British Columbia recorded 486 deaths in just five days, compared to an average of just 165 over a comparable period, according to the BBC. Authorities believe the heat played a role in the deaths of 65 people in Vancouver since last Friday.
An increasingly alarming situation
Fortunately, the residents of Lytton were able to flee before the flames took hold of the village. ” People just grabbed their animals, took their keys, got in their car and ran away Polderman said.
Due to the extreme heat, 710,117 lightning bolts formed over British Columbia and parts of neighboring Alberta. A very alarming situation according to experts, because the region is already prone to fires. ” I pay attention to my words Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, told Gizmodo. ” I suspect it will get worse, and it’s already very bad ».
Generally speaking, the researchers say that climate change probably played a big role in this heat wave. ” Climate change is undoubtedly one of the drivers of the intensity of this heat wave in Canada, but it is not the only one, and much remains to be done to determine the magnitude of its impact. », Declared to the BBC Friederike Otto, of Oxford University.