North America just experienced one of the hottest Junes in recorded history.
According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, last month’s temperatures in the region were 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the average from 1991-2020, with some areas surpassing 110 degrees. The data also confirmed that 2021 marked the 12th consecutive year in which North America recorded of above-average June temperatures; researchers also determined last month was the fourth-hottest June on record globally, and the second-hottest June on record for Europe.
“These heat waves are not happening in a vacuum,” C3S climate scientist Julien Nicolas told Al Jazeera. “They are happening in a global climate environment that is warming and which makes them more likely to occur.”
The dangers of the record-breaking heat waves have been well documented over the past several weeks. At the end of June, Oregon officials reported at least 63 people had died from health issues related to the extreme heat.
The Oregonian reports the death toll has since risen to 116, with the victims’ average age at 62.
Earlier this week, Chris Harley—a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia—estimated more than 1 billion sea animals had died due to B.C.’s historic heat wave, with some areas cracking 121 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s a reminder that yes, there are very important human tolls to climate change, but the whole system around us is changing too, and we don’t know what all of the consequences of those changes are going to be,” Harley told the Toronto Star. “Marine mussels, the ones that are dying here, just like freshwater mussels, they’re filter feeders so they do clear out particles in the water and make the water a little clearer.”