Friday, December 30, 2011

Quebec on the verge of catastrophic climate change, experts say

William Marsden in the Montreal Gazette: Record floods, melting permafrost, shoreline erosion and intense winds caused havoc for thousands of Quebecers as 2011 proved to be yet another year of higher than normal temperatures. These higher temperatures add to the credibility of climate models that have predicted the march of global warming will accelerate the more greenhouse gases we pump into the atmosphere, scientists say.

“It is striking that over the last 10 to 15 years we didn’t have a single season colder than normal,” said Alain Bourque, director of climate change impacts and adaptation at Quebec’s climate change research institute Ouranos. “That is a clear indication that Canada’s climate is heating up beyond any reasonable doubt.”

While most Quebecers may cheer the warmer winters, Bourque warns it is already endangering coastlines, the northern communities that are built on permafrost and our forests, which probably will not be able to adapt fast enough to a warmer climate.

He said warmer temperatures for pretty well all seasons indicate Quebec is well on its way to meeting the climate-model predictions that we are fast closing in on the 2C mark many scientists claim is the tipping point that will plunge the globe into catastrophic climate change.

The models indicate mean temperatures in the southern half of Quebec will be 2C to 3C higher than normal by 2020. In northern Quebec, the warming will be even higher. And at the present rate of warming as tracked since 1948, we are on track to be well over 4C by 2050 and as high as 7C to 9C by 2080....

Rivière aux brochets in the regional county municipality of Brome-Missisquoi, Montérégie, Québec. During the summer 2006 floods. Shot by Antaya, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

No comments: