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NEWS: Impacts of climate change on Canada diagram released

The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society have released a new diagram outlining the impacts of climate change on Canada as global temperatures continue to increase.

As noted on the NRTEE website, “Called Degrees of Change, the diagram is the first comprehensive illustration of expected climate impacts published for Canada and appears today in editions of Canadian Geographic and Géographica magazines. Resting on a large body of published scientific information, it lays out 60 specific effects of climate change at increasing levels of warming as part of a joint initiative between the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.”

Their diagram notes for “water resources” in Canada that at a:

1 percent temperature increase – runoff changes occur due to variations in snowpack accumulations and melting mountain glaciers; runoff in Northern and eastern Canada increasing; and water quality compromised by reduced quantity in some regions.

2 percent temperature increase – risk of desertification in prairies increased 50%; increasing competition over domestic and transboundary water access and use in parts of southern Canada; and runoff in South Saskatchewan River basin significantly reduced.

3 percent temperature increase – frequency of prairie droughts doubles.

By region, climate change impacts on water include:

Ontario – more frequent disruptions to water treatment/ distribution and energy generation/transmission; increased water shortages in southern Ontario; increased summer temperatures and evaporation rates; and increased health risks related to extreme weather, heat, smog and food-, water- and vector-borne diseases.

Quebec – shoreline erosion along the St. Lawrence River estuary.

British Columbia – increasing water shortages and competition for water, and more frequent and sustained drought.

Prairies – more frequent droughts.

Atlantic – more storms and ocean surges, sea levels rise, coastal erosion and flooding, increased pressure on water resources, marine fisheries face changes in fish species, agriculture and forestry vulnerable to disturbances and moisture stress.

CTV.ca reports that, “The report notes that if the world continues emitting greenhouse gases at levels that it is now, average global temperatures could rise by up to six degrees Celsius by the end of this century.”

The climate change diagram is at http://www.climateprosperity.ca/eng/studies/climate-impacts/degrees-of-change/nrtee-degrees-of-change-poster-map-eng.pdf.

And columnist John Ibbitson frames the climate change impacts on Canada in The Globe and Mail today as:

If temperatures rise by 2 degrees C, “goodbye to Prairie crops, as risk of desertification increases by 50 percent; health Great Lakes, which will suffer from less oxygen, lower water levels and fewer fish; water, as the runoff in South Saskatchewan River basin declines…”

At 3 degrees C, “goodbye to western glaciers, which will diminish by 50 per cent, reducing runoff; rain, as the frequency of Prairie drought doubles; the Atlantic salmon habitat in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and tail of Grand Banks, which will be wiped out; previous records, as extreme rain events double.”

At 4 degrees C, “goodbye to the Halifax waterfront, as sea levels rise by one metre…”

That’s at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/study-seeks-silver-lining-in-climate-changes-clouds/article1744369/.