There is continuing media coverage of the record-breaking heatwave that has hit Canada and parts of the US. “The most severe heat wave in the history of the Pacific Northwest has climaxed, obliterating scores of long-standing records,” the Washington Post reports. According to the newspaper, many regions have broken all-time temperature records that are “exceptionally rare and difficult to break” by 2-3C. The New York Times reports that Western Canada has “shattered” its national temperature record, reaching highs of nearly 46.7C. A further piece in the Washington Post says: “We can’t overstate how exceptional the heat is that’s blanketing the Pacific Northwest”. Reuters reports that schools and universities in Western Canada have been forced to close and a separate Reuters piece adds that the heatwave “has shut down much of daily life” for residents of Portland, Salem and Seattle in the US. Associated Press adds that many Covid-19 testing centres and mobile vaccination centres in Seattle have also closed, while the Washington Post reports that in Vancouver, “parks, beaches and pools have been flooded with residents eager to cool off ”. Meanwhile, SFGate reports that roads are “buckling” under the heat and the Boston Globe shows maps indicating how high temperatures are expected to rise over the next few days. “The US and Canada have both warned citizens of ‘dangerous’ heat levels that could persist this week,” BBC News reports.
The heatwave is being referred to as a “heat dome”, according to the Guardian, because “warmth extends high into the atmosphere and isn’t just a thin layer”. The Washington Post reports: “Meteorologists estimated that a heat dome of this size and scope is so rare it should be expected only once every several thousand years. But human-caused warming make extremes like this more common, scientists say”. Meanwhile, Scientific American covers the heatwave under the headline: “Unprecedented heat wave in pacific northwest driven by climate change.” A separate piece by Washington Post‘s weather editor says the heatwave “is shocking but shouldn’t be a surprise”. The piece continues: “Since the 1970s and 1980s, climate scientists have warned that global warming would make heat waves more frequent, long-lasting and intense. Maybe it’s only now that the reality is hitting home.” Meanwhile, the Hill reports that the Environmental Protection Agency “said the intensity of the heatwaves is a sign of climate change”. The Los Angeles Times carries an editorial entitled ,“Record-setting heat wave shows that climate change is creating hell on Earth”, and the Independent reports under the headline, “Once-in-a-millennium heat dome lodges over US and Canada in preview of future climate disaster”. And MailOnline reports that temperatures in Yellowstone could increase by 5C by 2100 due to climate change.
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that Jacobabad in Pakistan is experiencing the “world’s highest temperatures”, with temperatures topping 52C (126F). “Its mixture of heat and humidity has made it one of only two places on earth to have now officially passed, albeit briefly, a threshold hotter than the human body can withstand,” the newspaper continues. It notes that few people in the city have air conditioning and blackouts often mean that electricity is lost. “The hospital fills with heatstroke cases from those whose livelihoods mean they must venture out,” the paper adds.