CANADA – By 2050, scientists predict a summer-time warming of 2 C, and wetter in some regions by about five per cent, with droughts expanding desert areas causing weather migration of millions of people. Most of us will be here to see all this happen.
Berkeley Earth has reported that 2015 was “unambiguously” the warmest year on record across the world, with the earth’s temperature more than 1.0 C (1.8 F) above the 1850 to 1900 average.
Weather watchers are warning that the increase in rain predicted for some areas will not be gentle, but rather in the form of more downpours causing cataclysmic flash flooding in some areas and long droughts in others.
According to Canada Research Chair in Water Resources at the University of Saskatchewan John Pomeroy, the amount of water that falls as snow has already declined by 50 per cent on the Prairies, while the number of multi-day rains has increased by the same amount.
“Farmers need to adapt to that, to being inundated and flooded quite a bit,” he said.
He also predicts that heat-loving crops like corn will become much more common in Canadian fields. But water availability could limit the advantage of a longer growing season.
“Southern Canada’s modest precipitation gains are expected to be lost through higher temperatures,” he predicts.
In the near future generations we will also face the changes in habit and habitat of certain tree damaging beetles.
Warmer temperatures, even a degree or two, will turn forests into tinderboxes, as we have experiences with huge forest fires this past summer in record numbers.
Using the target of 2050, scientists say big parts of the boreal forest’s southern fringe will be brand-new prairie.
“Glaciers in the Rocky Mountains are pretty much going the way of the dodo bird,” said Mike Demuth of the Geological Survey of Canada.
Coastal cities around the world will begin to flood regularly with sea levels rising at a pace more than in the past 3000 years, one study shows.
The changes will also affect fisheries as species change their migration patterns.
Arid areas, in Africa especially, will no longer be able to sustain crops of any kind, which will create a mass migration of people into more northerly climates and the political and humanitarian relief problems it will create with the expansion of these deserts.
The Canadian government has also recognized the coming new order and what Canada needs to do to be ahead of the inevitable. They say:
Warming over the 20th century is indisputable and largely due to human activities.
Canada’s rate of warming is about twice the global rate: a 2 C increase globally means a 3 to 4 C increase for Canada.
Effects will persist for centuries because greenhouse gases (GHGs) are long-lived and the oceans are warming.
Cumulative CO2 emissions largely determine ultimate warming. A 2 C warming target may still be attainable, but we are already 65 per cent of the way to the associated carbon limit or budget and global emissions must peak before mid-century.
GHG emissions need to become net zero in order to stabilize climate at any temperature.
Some models predict that Canada will be one of the hardest hit countries if Global Warming is not curtailed by industrial pollution mediation efforts. Although Canada is well on its way to make changes to accommodate the future, its southern neighbours under President Donald Trump refuse to acknowledge that the temperature changes are human driven and has removed many of the environmental regulations put in place by former president Barack Obama. Trump has sanctioned the return of coal mining to the southern states, which were closed in favour of curbing pollution and pursuing renewable, clean energy models, like solar and wind.
Scott Sutherland, Meteorologist/Science Writer, estimates that by 2100, Vancouver’s average summer temperature will go from 68.18 C to 80.6 F; Calgary will average, 81 F; Toronto and Ottawa will be a toasty 88.32 F; and Montreal will average in at 86.72 F.
That may not be all bad news. The changes will also create a longer growing season and the possibility of growing other crops that cannot be grown here in Canada today. But we must acknowledge that our world is changing, weather we recognizing or if we ignore it, and we prepare for that change while aggressively reducing our carbon emissions.