While we were closing the issue, I found a video on Twitter on the highway outside Vancouver, which was submerged. He was not the only one. The densely populated urban heart of British Columbia was cut off from the rest of Canada by flooding and mudslides after crossing the atmospheric river. The country’s busiest port lost access to rail services, containers stuck. Hundreds of motorists had to be rescued from a slide-isolated highway on a military helicopter. The only way to get to the rest of the country by road was by detour through the United States.
The catastrophe came after a hot, dry summer that saw numerous cities across the region erupt through long-running temperature records as the heatwave covered much of the Pacific Northwest. By the end of August, the famine had settled in the whole province. Vancouver Island, home to old-growth temperate rainforests, Level 5 drought conditions, the most severe classification of British Columbia. Hundreds of wildfires engulfed the region, and the city itself was engulfed in smoke. Autumn floods were exacerbated by the scorching landscape of survivors of the summer drought. Looking at that video of a highway covered in brown, muddy water, I felt like I was seeing a sad microcosm at the base of the issue: the way many of us would initially experience climate change would be through water – either too much or not enough. We will be flooded. Or burn. Or both. This issue brings you stories of the changes that are taking place in the water cycle around the world as we begin to experience climate change.