October 2, 2022

June Heatwave Was the ‘Most Extreme’ On Record For North America


The devastating heatwave that struck the Northwest US and southwest Canada in June was “the most extreme summer heatwave” ever recorded in North America, according to a new analysis from nonprofit research group Berkeley Earth. The Verge reports: Record temperatures in the region reached roughly 20 degrees Celsius (or 36 ÂF) hotter than average in June. Canada recorded its hottest temperature ever on June 29th when the village of Lytton in British Columbia reached an astonishing 49.6 degrees Celsius (121 degrees Fahrenheit). Typical temperatures there in June are closer to 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit). The consequences of that heat are staggering. Scorching temperatures fed wildfires, which burned down 90 percent of Lytton. There were at least 570 heat-related deaths in Canada and at least 194 in the US. Thousands more people wound up in emergency departments.

For the entire Northern Hemisphere, it was the warmest June on record averaged across all land areas. Nearly 4 percent of the surface of the Earth hit record high average temperatures during the first half of 2021, according to the Berkeley Earth analysis. That’s despite the cooling effect of a La Nina event. Looking at the first six months of the year, “Nowhere has been record cold,” tweeted Berkeley Earth lead scientist Robert Rohde. Globally, the odds of more “record-shattering” heatwaves like the one that took such a huge toll in the US and Canada in June are likely on the rise.