Brutal temperatures have been scorching the Pacific Northwest all summer, and the region's human residents aren't the only ones feeling the heat. As CNN reports, more than 1 billion marine animals off Canada's Pacific Coast have essentially been cooked alive by the 2021 heatwave.
The video below shows the results of the extreme weather that boiled British Columbia in late June and early July. The region is famous for its shellfish, which thrive in cooler waters. These creatures are exposed to direct heat from the sun during low tide, and they aren't built to survive temperatures exceeding 100°F for long periods. Earlier this summer, Lytton, British Columbia, shattered Canada's official heat record, with peak temperatures reaching 121°F. British Columbia's beaches likely got even hotter.
It's estimated that up to 100 mussels, clams, starfish, and other coastal animals perished in this summer's unprecedented heat. Beaches along Canada's Pacific coast have been filled with the stench of cooked shellfish rotting in their shells. Now that many of the region's mussel beds have been wiped out, experts worry that the species that depend on them for their habitats will suffer as well. Scientists blame the heatwave on human-fueled climate change, and they say weather disasters like this one will only become more frequent in the future. You can see the aftermath of this particular event in the video below.
The Pacific Northwest isn't the only place currently grappling with sky-high temperatures; above-average heat is being felt around the world this summer. Here are some tips for coping with the next heatwave.