Climate change knows no borders, and its effects are being felt across Canada and abroad. Climate change is affecting the frequency, duration and intensity of many climate-related hazards and disasters around the world, such as floods, wildfires, droughts and extreme weather events.
Advancing our understanding of the issue for Canada requires a range of scientific expertise to assess the current state of knowledge on how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future. For the first time, changes specific to Canada’s climate are detailed in Canada’s Changing Climate Report. This report is a contribution to the National Assessment Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action.
Led by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canada’s Changing Climate Report is a result of collaboration between ECCC, Fisheries and Ocean Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Canadian university experts. The development of Canada’s Changing Climate Report also benefited from consultations with a broad range of assessment users, such as governments, Indigenous organizations and academia. The results of this report will help inform adaptation decision-making and help increase public awareness and understanding of Canada’s changing climate.
Canada’s Changing Climate Report is national in scope and provides the Canadian context to the global issue of climate change. The findings are consistent with the broad international scientific understanding of climate change. The report builds on information already found in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.
The science is clear. Human activity is driving unprecedented changes in Earth’s climate, posing significant risks to the health and well-being of Canadians, communities and the economy. The following headline statements tell a concise story about Canada’s changing climate based on the findings of this report:
- Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future, driven by human influence.
- Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming.
- Oceans surrounding Canada have warmed, become more acidic, and less oxygenated, consistent with observed global ocean changes over the past century.
- The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future.
- Precipitation is projected to increase for most of Canada, on average, although summer rainfall may decrease in some areas.
- The seasonal availability of freshwater is changing with an increased risk of water supply shortages in summer.
- A warmer climate will intensify some weather extremes in the future.
- Canadian areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans have experienced longer and more widespread sea-ice-free conditions.
- Coastal flooding is expected to increase in many areas of Canada because of local sea level rise.
- The rate and magnitude of climate change under high versus low emission scenarios project two very different futures for Canada.