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Vancouver, B.C./Ottawa, May 15 (Canadian-Media): Many people in B.C. are reflecting if record-breaking heat they are experiencing and destructive floods are due to climate change, media reports said.
Temperatures, in several communities, over the weekend, had risen into the high 20s and low 30s, which had busted through daily records.
Massive floods had hit parts of the Interior B.C., for the second year in a row.
Last year's floods, immediately followed by wildfires and the consequent result in the loss of plant cover, had made some parts of the province even more susceptible to flooding.
Although these high temperatures had resulted in the rapid melting of mountain snow giving rise to floods that could hit levels seen only once in 100 years, scientists said it was too early to connect one-time events or with or even two or three-time events to global climate trends.
Brett Gilley, a professor in Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of B.C., said,
"I think climate change is definitely something that we're starting to experience, but it's hard to say this is that," Gilley told CBC.
"When we're talking about climate, we're usually thinking of a 30-year average," Gilley said.
"So five years of weather, for example, isn't necessarily enough for us to say climate has changed, but it's possible."
Brett Gilley/Facebook Page
It is still debatable, according to Markus Schnorbus, the lead for hydrologic impacts at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium in Victoria, how warming temperatures affect flooding.
"We have obviously concerns that hydrologic events can become more frequent in the future — both flooding and droughts — so it's something that we are very desperate and anxious to answer," said Schnorbus.
While rising temperatures can lead to sudden snow melt, causing flooding, higher temperatures in the winter could also mean less snow to melt, Schnorbus pointed out.
"There are all these different multiple trends with potentially conflicting processes," he said.
By using computer models, added Schnorbus, that take into account everything from projected snowfall, to melting speeds, to summer precipitation, scientists are trying to predict how drought and flood cycles are affected by climate change.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj