How climate change has altered our view of precipitation.
I live in a part of the world (Canada’s southwest coast) that is often referred to as a rain forest. Complaining about the rain is common, along with seasonal affective disorder and winter getaways to sunny southern destinations.
But the events of the last few summers are changing our perspectives on climate and environment. This year, the rate of change seems to have accelerated, and in particular, rain is either absent or far too abundant.
My country is facing at least two major crises this week related to climate change. On the east coast, in Nova Scotia, people have died and many more lives are disrupted due to flash flooding. More than 250 millimeters of rain came down in one day (okay non-metric readers, that’s almost 10 inches — or the normal rainfall over three months).
At the same time, in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, wildfires are burning unprecedented acreages of precious forest. Untold tons of captured carbon are being released in the far-reaching, choking smoke, and firefighters have died trying to limit the damage.
The fight has become global. We are grateful for the help of firefighters from Brazil, Australia and Mexico, who have come to our aid because they know just how important it is to have all hands on deck to face such threats.
My province is facing unprecedented drought in almost every region — including the rain forest.
Any consumer of world news might be inclined to believe that this is the new global normal. Record heat in Europe, the US and China. Wildfires in Greece, California, Algeria. Flooding in New England. All that, just in the last month.
After more than a month with no rain here in southwestern BC, yesterday the skies opened: we were blessed with 15 millimeters of rain. That’s less than an inch, Imperial folks — not nearly enough to break the drought. But it…