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B.C.'s year of extreme weather a sign of things to come, expert says


As B.C. braces for a third atmospheric river in a week, one expert says these weather events could become the norm.

Dr. Rachel White, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of British Columbia says as the temperature of our climate increases, so does the likelihood of more devastating natural disasters.

“Climate change is obviously playing a role here, as we warm up the atmosphere and the ocean, we will see more moisture in the atmosphere,” White says.

According to Environment Canada, between 50 to 100 millimetres of rain is predicted to fall Tuesday and into Wednesday, with winds gusting up to 60 km/h also expected.

The trio of atmospheric rivers comes just two weeks after the major storm that triggered the devastating floods and mudslides across the province's southern and interior regions. 

“By moving each atmospheric river a little bit stronger, we are making these types of flooding events more likely,” White says.

“These really intense precipitation events are predicted to get stronger and more intense.”

White says there’s also a clear connection between the summer heat dome, the devastating wildfire season, and fatal mudslides earlier this month.

“There’s research showing that with the damage to the vegetation and impacts to the soil, essentially made the environment more vulnerable to landslides."

"Both of these events are things that we're likely to see more of under climate change, they're not separate, all of this is interconnected," she adds. 

A year of unprecedented weather, that White warns could become the precedent, if more action against climate change isn’t taken.

“That’s one of the scariest things about climate change, is all of these impacts that we perhaps don’t necessarily think about until we see them happen, and then it’s made clear just how devastating this can be.” Top Stories

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