VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Summer months in Vancouver usually average a daily high of 20 degrees, now imagine that another seven degrees higher.
A new report predicts the city’s weather will resemble that of Chicago’s sweltering summers if carbon emissions continue to climb. That’s according to an article on the website Climate Central.
“Cities have an extra reason why they could warm up, is because of the urban heat island,” explains Senior Climatologist at Environment Canada David Phillips.
Due to an increase in population, cars and industry, the heat will only surge in cities around the world. Fifty-four per cent of the world’s population is found in big cities and it’s expected the urban population is expected to grow by 2.5 billion people globally by 2050. “With the kind of building materials we see in cities, the asphalt, the pavement, the skyscrapers, what have you, those materials absorb the heat and then slowly release it later on.”
Nation-wide, many of us will be impacted by this warming trend. “Canada for example is kind of a contradiction in a way. We have probably the lowest population density, but probably the most urbanized country in the world. 80 to 85 per cent of Canadians live in cities over 10,000 people.”
While it’s expected that come the year 2100, Vancouver could have daily summer highs of 27 degrees Celsius, Metro Vancouver won’t completely resemble the Windy City. “Certainly wouldn’t be the winter situation, you wouldn’t have the thunderstorm climate, that Chicago has now, but if one is strictly looking at temperatures, I guess it is a twin to what Chicago would be.”
Phillips does see the dangers in the rising temperatures. He recalls the heatwave across Metro Vancouver back in 2009 when there were multiple days when the mercury climbed over 30 degrees. “During that July, about 160 more deaths in the Lower Mainland as a direct result of that excessive heat. Even people in an air conditioned kind of a city in terms of natural air condition in Vancouver, can what toll warmer temperatures can have.”
The report suggests the potential risks are why thousands of mayors from around the globe are working together to help reduce their emissions.