Thursday, July 14, 2005

Weather of mass destruction

From the CP:
"It's almost a Guinness book of weather records," David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said of the heat wave. "It takes a lot to make me shake my head, but this one has really surprised me over the last few weeks."...

"We're seeing twice as many (days that exceed 30 C) as in a normal year, and we're not even into the dog days of summer yet."

It shouldn't be news, but here's the effect on Ontarians:
A study released by Toronto's medical officer of health last month found an average of 120 people die prematurely of heat-related causes each year, while 822 die from smog. This year, those numbers could be even higher, officials warned.

A similar study by public health officials in Montreal two years ago showed that fatalities start to mount when temperatures exceed 33 C for 3 consecutive days, said spokeswoman Deborah Bonney.

"During these periods, we found that deaths more than doubled from a normal average of 40 deaths recorded a day to an average of 100 deaths a day," Bonney said.

The numbers were terrible enough based on an average year. But now we're seeing just how bad the combination of climate change and pollution can be.

Of course it's tougher to trace the deaths directly, but Ontario could well lose more people to smog this year alone than the U.S. has lost in Iraq. And nobody's incessantly ranting about "supporting the smog victims".

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