The winter of 2009/2010 was the warmest, dryest one on the record books. The national average temperature for this past winter was 4 degrees above normal, with some parts of Nunavut and Quebec more than 6 degrees above normal. David Phillips, a senior Environment Canada climatologist, was recently quoted, saying:
“It’s beyond shocking…” Records have been shattered from “coast to coast to coast…It is truly a remarkable situation,” says Phillips, noting that he’s seen nothing like it in his 40 years of weather watching.
Phillips warned that “the winter than wasn’t” may have set the stage for potentially “horrific” water shortages, insect infestations and wildfires this summer.
Environment Canada’s report on this winter says the long-term record shows Canada’s climate has changed, most markedly in the winter, which has warmed 2.5 C over the last 63 years. The summary states:
The temperature trend graph shows that winter temperatures have remained at or above normal since 1997. The red dashed line indicates winter temperatures have warmed over the last 63 years by 2.5°C. The winter season shows the greatest warming of any season, but all seasons have shown a warming trend since 1948.
Meanwhile, the shortage of essential supplies like gasoline and building materials in northern remote communities due to the early melting of winter roads is making headlines. Instead of lasting 3 months, as used to be the norm, this winter the ice roads in northern Manitoba were open for only 6 weeks. The cost of flying in supplies is prohibitive, and needs to be added to the growing list of climate change-related expenses that Canadians are going to be paying for, thanks to our government’s inaction on climate change. As Dr. Richard Gemmon has said “If you think mitigated climate change is expensive, try unmitigated.”
Meanwhile, on CBC’s “The National” last night, the balmy temperatures were discussed without one mention of climate change – now that is really shocking!
Here’s a clip of David Suzuki, Canadian scientist and environmentalist extraordinaire, discussing the media’s coverage of climate change. Unfortunately, it is just as accurate today as it was when this video was made in 2006: