Record-breaking heatwaves, aquatic biodiversity, and human communities: BC and beyond

The heatwave that occurred in western Canada in early July 2021 broke temperature records in many areas, causing possibly over 600 excess heat-related deaths and a mass die-off of marine life along the seashore in British Columbia. Recent studies show that climate change has been increasing the intensity and frequency of heatwaves. The ocean, rivers, and lakes, as well as their fisheries and dependent human communities, such as coastal Indigenous people, are also largely affected by heatwaves in addition to the other impacts from climate change. We need to act to prevent the avoidable impacts and adapt to the unavoidable changes, locally through initiatives such as the British Columbia Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy and internationally through the Paris Agreement.

In this webinar, we brought together leading experts in climatology, oceanography, aquatic ecology, and fisheries from UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries to share their knowledge about heatwaves and their impacts on biodiversity and dependent human communities. The webinar also provided a forum to discuss responses and actions that are needed at individual, community, and governmental levels to address the increasing threats from heatwaves to biodiversity and society.

Please note: Only the presentations and the comments from the two discussants was recorded. The Q&A session was not, to preserve privacy of the participants.