The North American heat wave is also affecting the United States

The North American heat wave is also affecting the United States

Extreme heat killed 200 people in Oregon and Washington state, where the death toll was double that recorded between 2015 and 2020

(Photo: Pixabay) The heat wave which struck Canada, causing about 500 deaths and starting hundreds of fires, also hit the United States, leaving behind another 200 victims in Oregon and Washington State. Particularly impressive is the data from Washington, where the 78 deaths last week represent double the total deaths that occurred in the spring and summer between 2015 and 2020.

Between mid-June and the end of August 2020, there were 7 heat-related deaths in Washington state, while between 2015 and 2020 the total was 39 deaths. "This huge leap in heat-related mortality is an event that many people never thought they would ever experience in the Pacific Northwest, where the climate is mostly moderate," said Dr. Scott Lindquist, Washington state health officer. , in a statement reported by the Guardian "However the climate is changing and the evidence is these dramatic weather events, such as major floods, heat waves and more."

In Oregon, the Associated reported press, the youngest victim was 37, while the oldest 97. Most of the deaths occurred in Portland's Multnomah County, where many of those killed had no fans or air conditioning in their homes and died of asphyxiation from extreme temperatures.

Thermometers have risen above 46 degrees over the past week, due to two high pressure systems standing still in the Pacific Northwest area, creating a stagnant hot air dome that caused the rising temperatures. According to a study produced by World ewather attribution, but not yet revised, the atmospheric phenomenon of these days would have been "impossible without climate change caused by humans". For the researchers, the temperatures recorded would be so high that they are "far outside the range of temperatures reported by historical analyzes".

In addition to the direct consequences on human life, the heat wave has affected marine fauna of the Pacific coast of Canada, causing further indirect problems. According to Christopher Harley, a biologist at British Columbia University, about a billion marine animals may have died in the past two weeks, particularly mollusks, causing a decrease in water quality. In fact, to feed on mussels, clams and other bivalves, they absorb and filter the water, helping to keep it clear and clean. Such a drastic and sudden decrease in these natural filters could therefore compromise the marine ecosystem of the area and endanger the survival of other species.

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