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article imageCanada is warming at twice the rate as the rest of the world

By Karen Graham     Apr 2, 2019 in Science
Ottawa - The effects of a warming planet are going to be felt all across Canada. And, if we stick to a "business-as-usual" scenario — it's going to happen a lot sooner than scientists initially thought.
A recently released report by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change titled "Canada's Changing Climate Report" - says, on average, Canada's climate has been and will continue to warm at double the rate of global warming.
This report is based on government data and supported by research from across the country. Yet, many Canadians probably don't realize this. According to Ali Nazemi, a climate change expert at Concordia University, it's not the lack of scientific evidence that's the problem, but the "deep dysfunction that crops up when the topic is discussed," he said during an interview with Vice.
Climate change discussions have become a polarizing issue. “It has come to the level of belief. It’s not about facts and science anymore, it’s become like a religion. You believe in God or you don’t believe in God. You believe in climate change or you don’t believe in climate change,” said Nazemi.
The eastern United States and Canada shivered under record-breaking low temperatures Saturday as Arc...
The eastern United States and Canada shivered under record-breaking low temperatures Saturday as Arctic blasts followed a deadly winter storm. In Canada, temperatures approaching minus 50 degrees Celsius (minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit) were forecast in northern Ontario and Quebec. Photo shows frozen Lake Ontario at the Toronto Waterfront on January 6, 2018.
© Digital Journal
Since 1948, when nation-wide records became available, Canada’s annual average temperature over land has warmed by 1.7°C, with higher temperature increases observed in the North, the Prairies, and northern British Columbia. This is based on facts. The annual average temperature over northern Canada increased by 2.3°C since 1948. The greatest warming has occurred in winter.
Nazemi says that many people look at global warming as being a good thing - after all, this means more sunny days in the summer, right? But global warming is a lot more than warmer days to enjoy the outdoors.
In July 2018, Montreal experienced 70 heat-related deaths as the city dealt with unusually hot temperatures. British Columbia experienced its worst fire season on record in August 2018, while two brief thunderstorms caused widespread flooding in Toronto, bringing the downtown core to a standstill, according to CBC Canada.
Environment Canada forecast a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday with...
Environment Canada forecast a maximum of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday with a heat index (what the temperature feels like to the human body) of up to 45 Celsius
EVA HAMBACH, AFP/File
He says “this is very, very concerning because it’s not about a warming climate. It’s about thawing permafrost, it’s about changing the freeze-and-thaw pattern, the growing season, the water availability that we have, it’s a change of the timing and the magnitude of the flooding, the droughts that we have in this country.”
The thing is - Canada is experiencing extreme warm temperatures while extreme cold periods are becoming less cold. Over the past 30 years, the amount of snow-covered land has decreased. Michael Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, told CNN, "North America, and especially Canada, is seeing even more rapid warming than the planet on the whole, and the impacts are now readily apparent."
In the United States, US researchers also warned of the effects of climate change in a report issued in November 2018. The Fourth National Climate Assessment warned that "without significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or more by the end of this century, compared with preindustrial temperatures."
Here's the problem - In both Canada and the United States, climate change and global warming discussions have become political footballs, and this is so very wrong.
Page from the Canadian Climate Data Accessibility Portal (CCDAP)
Page from the Canadian Climate Data Accessibility Portal (CCDAP)
CCDAP
Nazemi says, “There’s a lot of mistrust between the public and politicians, in terms of taxes—people just don’t want to hear the fact that they need to pay some more money. The climate change discussion to me is not a scientific-driven discussion, it’s a politically driven-discussion.”
“I would say many politicians are scared to talk about climate change because they are fearing that they might lose supporters,” he says. He’d like to see the issue dealt with as an extremely serious and pressing social and economic matter - which is exactly what it has become.
Researchers at Concordia University have spent over six months developing an App a site called the Canadian Climate Data Accessibility Portal (CCDAP). Nazemi hopes the app will clear up “a huge mismatch” between public perception and what the scientific community has been telling us - climate change is knocking on our door.
More about Canada, Global warming, CCDAP, Concordia University, Environment canada
 
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