The recent release of the IPCC Special Report Global Warming of 1.5 C underscores the fact that climate change threatens our irreplaceable forest ecosystems and economies, and that preserving Canada’s forests is an essential strategy to help fight climate change.
Canada’s forests are some of the largest in the world. They have enormous economic, cultural, environmental, and recreational value for Canadians of all walks of life. And they are already showing the impact of our changing climate. Invasive insect pests, record-breaking wildfires, and drought have already taken a toll on trees across the country.
Recent extreme events, including this year’s record-setting forest fire season in B.C., have many Canadians wondering: “is this the new normal?” The Climate Atlas helps answer this question, and the new Forests section highlights the risks climate change poses to Canada’s essential, iconic forests:
- Climate change is a ‘triple threat’ for forest fires, leading to hotter temperatures, more frequent lightning strikes, and more dry, windy “fire weather” overall.
- Canada’s warming climate is allowing invasive pests such as the mountain pine beetle and the emerald ash borer to spread farther and faster than ever before.
- Climate models show that 2018’s record-breaking summer heat will become the ‘new normal’ by 2050 unless carbon emissions are drastically reduced.
The Climate Atlas of Canada is an interactive tool for citizens, researchers, businesses, and community and political leaders to learn about climate change in Canada. It combines climate science, mapping, and storytelling to inspire local, regional, and national action and solutions. The Atlas was produced by the Prairie Climate Centre (PCC), a team made up of climate scientists, social science researchers,filmmakers, and communication specialists at the University of Winnipeg. The funders of the Atlas include Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Province of Manitoba, Great West Life, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.