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New maps highlight changes coming to Canada’s climate (10/19/2017) - A new series of maps made by climatologists at the Prairie Climate Centre highlights just how vulnerable Canada is to continued climate changes. The maps illustrate how temperature and precipitation are likely to change in the future under two hypothetical warming scenarios: a ‘low carbon’ scenario that assumes the international community will get together very...
The Prairie Climate Atlas: making climate science meaningful (10/19/2017) - The Prairie Climate Atlas has been created as a tool for communicating the severity of climate change in the Prairie Provinces. The collection of interactive maps and graphs available throughout the website allow users to explore how climate is projected to change across the Prairies. In the coming months, we will be linking this modeling...
2017 a record year for smoke (9/13/2017) - Temperatures throughout Canada’s forests are rising fast because of human-caused global climate change, leaving researchers increasingly worried about the potential for longer, more deadly forest fire seasons in the near future.   One of the under-reported consequences of forest fires is their impact on air quality.  In many cases, communities several hundreds of kilometers downwind...
Hurricanes and Climate Change (9/5/2017) - Every year, beginning around the end of August and continuing into November, North America anxiously endures hurricane season. Hurricanes form in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and track westward towards the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and mainland United States.  The wind speeds in strong hurricanes rival those in most tornadoes, and can cause massive destruction over...
MB Carbon Pricing Coalition The Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition (8/3/2017) - The Prairie Climate Centre has joined with a variety of other organizations to form the Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition. We stand behind the six principles the Coalition set forth regarding the necessity to create an effective and equitable carbon price: • Urgent action needs to be taken – Human activity is changing the climate and...
Trump Rejects Economic and Scientific Sense along with Paris Agreement (6/2/2017) - Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the USA will pull out of the Paris Agreement. His speech was notable for avoiding terms such as “global warming” or “climate change” almost entirely. Instead, he roundly attacked the agreement as a purely economic instrument that purportedly imposed only costs and provided no benefits. The great fallacy of...
Keeling’s Curve (4/19/2017) -     How do we know for sure that human activities are resulting in an increase in global carbon dioxide concentrations? The answer involves accurately measuring the amount of CO2 in the air, a seemingly simple problem that’s actually deceptively complex.   If you tried to record the concentration of carbon dioxide near your home,...
Eight Ways Cities are Building Climate Resilience (4/10/2017) - The Building a Climate-Resilient City series was prepared for the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary by the Prairie Climate Centre, a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. Climate change will have serious impacts for cities. In coming decades, building resilience will be essential urban policy and a...
Winnipeg slush Welcome to your new winter, Winnipeg (11/29/2016) - It’s a slushy, wet, late-November day in Winnipeg. I walked to work this morning missing the usual abrupt onset of the cold, dry prairie winter, and thinking that I’d been happy to leave this kind of damp and dirty fall behind when I moved here from southern Ontario. My friends and relatives are always confused...
The Heat is On, Or Why A Few Degrees is a Big Deal (11/25/2016) - Sometimes it’s hot. Sometimes it’s not. But, wait: if we’re emitting more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and heating up the planet, why doesn’t the temperature always increase too? The answer comes partly because there’s an important difference between “heat” and “temperature.” For example, when you put a pot of water on the...
Assiniboine River flooding, Winnipeg Flood Risks, Big Data, and Political Leadership (11/18/2016) -  At the end of October the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo released a report entitled Climate Change and the Preparedness of Canadian Provinces and Yukon to Limit Potential Flood Damage (PDF) that should be required reading for Manitoba’s policymakers. Its recommendations should be taken very seriously given the economic and political...
Manitoba climate policy leadership (11/1/2016) - German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) noted that our perception of truth evolves over time: “To truth only a brief celebration of victory is allowed between the two long periods during which it is condemned as paradoxical, or disparaged as trivial.” This is often paraphrased as “all truth passes through three states: first, it is ridiculed;...
Four degrees of separation: lessons from the last Ice Age (10/28/2016) -   The pace and magnitude of human-caused climate change is nothing short of remarkable. The dramatic climate change we are now experiencing is a rapid and unexpected side effect of the astonishing ingenuity of humanity. It’s really quite amazing that industrialization – harnessing the power of machines to do our work – could have such...
Punching above our carbon weight: Canada could be low-carbon leader (10/20/2016) - Pundits and politicians sometimes argue against taking action on climate change because Canada is responsible for a relatively low percentage of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Why, they ask, should Canadians be expected to make deep greenhouse gas cuts while the real culprits, including China and the United States, do nothing? Won’t that end...
Carbon Tax: your questions, our answers (10/14/2016) - Q: “What is a carbon tax?” A carbon tax is a fee paid to the government upon the purchase of fossil fuels, which are major sources of the well-known, planet-warming gas: carbon dioxide. Most Canadians already pay some kind of extra carbon-based fee for fuels, either in the form of an explicit price per ton...
Snowfall on tundra “Climate” vs “Weather” (10/7/2016) - Canadians pay a lot of attention to weather. Over the course of the year most of us see remarkable extremes of heat and cold—from -40°C in the winter to +40°C in the summer—that are unlike almost any place else on Earth. What it’s like outside seriously affects our daily lives. So we’re used to predicting,...
This ain’t your grandparents’ climate (7/21/2016) -     Memory has a way of distorting our perceptions of climate change. We remember snow drifts as high as our heads when we were kids, but forget that we were only three feet tall. We remember experiencing weeks on end of ‘windchill 2000’ weather in February, but forget that that way of measuring wind...
Warmer Prairie winters: sounds good, but what does it really mean? (7/14/2016) - Residents of Churchill, Manitoba know cold. On average, Churchill experiences about 44 days of extreme cold — where the minimum temperature drops below -30 °C — per year. These temperatures are potentially dangerous for those not accustomed or prepared for them; but are vital to the ecosystem and an important component of the global climate...
Science Update: Tropical Nights in Manitoba? (6/29/2016) - A Tropical Night occurs when the overnight temperature remains above 20 °C. Tropical Nights are exceptionally rare phenomena across most of Prairies. In fact, both Calgary and Edmonton experienced a grand total of zero Tropical Nights between 1981 and 2010. Winnipeg experiences an average of one Tropical Night per year. Water is a Greenhouse Gas....
Opinion: The 1.5 °C Challenge (6/27/2016) -       A recent article in the Guardian newspaper highlights the implications of the Paris agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 °C compared to 2 °C as had been the generally accepted target prior to Paris – the implications bear directly on how we plan climate adaptation and mitigation policy for the Canadian...
Climate Report Cards: how prepared is your region for climate change? (6/17/2016) -     With the launch of the Prairie Climate Atlas last month came a new adaptation tool we called the ‘Climate Report Card.’ These reports detailed climate change statistics for major cities and towns across the three Prairie Provinces, and allow local leaders, researchers and members of the public to see how climate change will...
Science Update: the ‘wet gets wetter, dry gets drier’ trend (6/14/2016) -     A recent publication in Nature Climate Change (Donat et al, 2016) has significant implications for future water management on the Canadian Prairies.   The influence of a warming planet on precipitation patterns is a central question that climatologists must address to guide policies for climate adaptation. Over the ocean,  climatologists generally agree that regions of the...
New Poster Highlights Implications of the Changing Prairie Climate (6/6/2016) - What will climate change mean for the Canadian Prairie Provinces? A new educational poster was published today by the Prairie Climate Centre highlighting the risks of climate change across the region. Few aspects of Prairie life will be unaffected by climate change, especially if global carbon dioxide emissions continue to climb. Forest fires will likely...
Research and Collaboration: Adapting our Forests to Climate Change (6/1/2016) -     For forest ecologist Dr. Andrew Park, getting Manitoba’s forests ready for climate change is of top concern. Park, an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg, is partnering with the Prairie Climate Centre to study how climate change will affect tree species in North America. Using climate model data provided by AdaptWest, the...
Win a deck of limited edition Prairie Climate Centre playing cards!!! (5/27/2016) -     The Prairie Climate Centre Playing Cards feature 52 unique maps, graphs and tables depicting expected changes in temperature, precipitation and much more for communities across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Enter our contest for a chance to win a deck! To enter, you must first visit our interactive website: climateatlas.ca. Then, in 100 words...
Climate Atlas points to very large increase in +30 °C weather for the Prairies (5/20/2016) -     Last week we launched the Prairie Climate Atlas – which illustrates how climate change is likely to impact the Canadian Prairie Provinces. One of the most dramatic maps in the atlas shows how the number of days per year with temperatures greater than or equal to +30 °C triples or even quadruples across...
New online Prairie Climate Atlas puts relevant, timely research into the hands of farmers, First Peoples and decision-makers (5/7/2016) -     The Prairie Climate Atlas launched today is the first interactive online tool to map the dramatic changes projected to occur to the climate on the Canadian Prairies. The interactive website developed by the Prairie Climate Centre will provide important resources that citizens, planners and policy-makers need to understand the risks expected to occur in...
The Prairie Climate Centre opens its doors (12/2/2015) - A joint initiative of the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Centre will help governments, businesses and community members identify and anticipate risks, take advantage of emerging opportunities, build capacity, and enhance economic and environmental resilience to climate change.