Canada's Temperature Increases Raising Concerns

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While warmer temperatures may seem nice after the harsh winter we saw this past season, increasing temperatures across the globe have become somewhat of a concern.

According to a recent report - Canada's Changing Climate Report - the Earth's average temperature has increased by 0.8 C between 1948 and 2016.

However, Canada's warming is a little more concerning.

During the same timeframe, the annual average temperature in Canada increased by a whopping 1.7 C. And in northern Canada, the annual mean temperature from 1948 to 2016 increased by 2.3 C. 

So, what exactly does this mean?

"Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming," reads the report. "Northern Canada has warmed and will continue to warm at more than double the global rate."

As a result of these increasing temperatures, Canada has seen shorter snow and ice cover seasons, extreme heat, less extreme cold, longer growing seasons, thinning glaciers, thawing permafrost, rising sea levels, and earlier spring peak streamflow.

These trends are expected to continue as some further warming is unavoidable.

In addition, these changes have also impacted oceans that surround the country.

"Oceans surrounding Canada have warmed, become more acidic, and less oxygenated, consistent with observed global ocean changes over the past century," reads the report. "Ocean warming and loss of oxygen will intensify with further emissions of all greenhouse gases, whereas ocean acidification will increase in response to additional carbon dioxide emissions. These changes threaten the health of marine ecosystems."

The current changes Canada has seen thus far have been driven largely by human influence.

"Global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity will largely determine how much warming Canada and the world will experience in the future," reads the report.

The most concern aspect of these facts is that, as noted in the report, this warming is irreversible.

So, what can we do to reduce future warming?

"Scenarios with limited warming will only occur if Canada and the rest of the world reduce carbon emissions to near zero early in the second half of the century and reduce emissions of other greenhouse gases substantially," notes the report.

"Beyond the next few decades, the largest uncertainty about the magnitude of future climate change is rooted in uncertainty about human behaviour, that is, whether the world will follow a pathway of low, medium, or high emissions," the report continues to explain. "Given this uncertainty, projections based on a range of emission scenarios are needed to inform impact assessment, climate risk management, and policy development."

Graphic is courtesy of Canada's Changing Climate Report.

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