loading page

A Storyline Approach to the June 2021 Northwestern North American Heatwave
  • Laurent Terray
Laurent Terray

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Northwestern North America has experienced an exceptional heatwave in late June 2021 with many new temperature records across western Canada, Oregon and Washington states. Here we use a recent atmospheric reanalysis and a conditional approach based on dynamical adjustment to assess and quantify the influence of atmospheric circulation and other driving factors to the heatwave magnitude during the June 28–30 period. A blocking anticyclone, enhanced low-level moisture and clear-sky downward long-wave radiation are shown to be the main factors of the heatwave persistence and magnitude. The heatwave magnitude is mainly attributable to internal variability with climate change being an additional factor (10%). Consequences of a similar atmospheric circulation anomaly in different phases of the Atlantic Multidecadal and Pacific Decadal Oscillations and in a warmer world at different global warming levels (1, 2, 3 and 4°C) are explored based on a single model initial-condition large ensemble.