CLIMATE CHANGE: IN CANADA
"We need to care for the earth so that it may continue, as God willed, to be a source of life for the entire human family."
~ Pope Francis
Global Warming, in the past and into the future, is double the magnitude in Canada than the global average.
As a result there are numerous areas of our country that will continue to be affected:
From the graphic provided by the CCCR 2019, there is a seriously threatening upward trend of Canadian temperature forecasted within this century. The red line indicates a forecast of a high-emission scenario and the blue indicates a low-emission scenario.
Such a rate of warming could ignite a chain reaction of consequences that would affect our environment, wildlife and our very own existence.
CHANGES IN SNOW AND ICE:
For the past 3 decades in Canada (and much of the Northern globe), marine and land areas covered by ice and snow have steadily decreased.
The amount of terrestrial land covered seasonally is diminishing as is the length of lake ice cover in the Arctic. Decreased amounts of summer sea ice, thinning glaciers and warmed permafrost have been results global warming, including the natural cause of rising surface temperatures. These trends are set to continue.
CHANGES IN RAINFALL AND SNOWFALL:
Overall, there has been an increased level of precipitation in many regions within Canada. The shift, however, has been toward a lower amount of snowfall and increased rainfall. Snow accumulation, has declined from 1981-2015 on a country wide scale.
Annual precipitation rates are estimated to rise across ALL of Canada over the next century. As emissions heighten, summer rainfall will dwindle in most of southern Canada.
TEMPERATURE EXTREME WEATHER:
Have you noticed the extreme summer days as of late? Dry forests igniting with increased severity?
What happened those extreme cold days that were abundant in the 1980’s? Why are there more random days of warm winter weather?
‘Once-every-20 years’ extremes will now be ‘once-every -2-5 years’ with the range depending on the low to high emission scale respectively.
With the mean temperature increase, extreme weather follows this pattern. Extreme heat has become hotter, while extreme cold has become less cold.
The future of a warmer climate is projected to intensify the heat more frequently and higher intensity. The effects of which will bring prolonged and severe heatwaves contributing to drought and wildfire risks.
Urban flooding will start to occur, as we have seen as of late, with more frequent and intense rainfalls. There is a level of uncertainly in the community on just how much of an impact warmer temperatures will combine with smaller snowpack's that could enhance snowmelt-related flooding.
CHANGES IN FRESHWATER AVAILABILITY:
Warm winters are resulting in earlier snowmelts and will effectively produce higher winter flows into rivers and streams. As time increases, the spring peak flow would come earlier and summer shortages for fresh water.
Reduced glacier ice this century will produce lower summer flows. Summer shortages will trend upwards as evaporated water generates droughts.
OCEANS & SEA LEVELS:
Warming of the oceans surrounding Canada will continue to occur. The effect will be most felt in the Artic region warming during summer months and the North Atlantic during the winters.
Increased acidity and lightened salt levels in ocean waters due to melting ice from the Artic and will negatively impact the ocean’s ability to hide away greenhouse gases and dissolve oxygen - affecting marine life and ecosystems.
As the ice continues to melt into the ocean, sea levels will continue to rise.
Coupled with uplift from land masses, this can result in mass flooding, storms and tsunamis that can be destructive to many ecosystems.
Sea level rise in just a 25 year period could show significant damage to coastal towns and cities across Canada. St. John’s has already received approval for millions from the federal government to fund a move of key infrastructure to higher ground. A proactive measure to mitigate a very real problem.
The graphic below from CCCR 2019 shows the projected change in sea levels by end of century.