Climate Change & Canada

Thu, 2015-10-22 18:30 - 20:30

Did you know that the 10 warmest years on record since 1970 (reference) have been in the last 15 years?!?  The effects of climate change are escalating. Every decade since the 1970's has been hotter than the decade before.  But the good news is that we can act now to stop the effects of global warming for future generations.  By changing the way we travel, consume, and use power in our everyday lives, we can drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Join our Development & Peace group on Thursday, October 22nd, 6:30pm in the Library for a presentation on Climate Change & Canada: Causes, consequences and Canada’s role in the global effort to address this escalating global phenomenon. This presentation will be made by the Step Up, Canada campaign led by and People’s Climate Movement in partnership with The Climate Reality Project

*The inset plot compares the most recent two millennia of the average to other more recent reconstructed graphs describing an increasing trend in global temperature. The above primary is a plot showing the variations, and relative stability, of climate during the last 12000 years. The main figure shows eight records of local temperature variability on multi-centennial scales throughout the course of the Holocene, and an average of these (thick dark line). The data are for the period from 10000 BC to 2000 CE, which is from 12000 BP to the present time. The records are plotted with respect to the mid 20th century average temperature, and the global average temperature in 2004 is indicated.

The inset plot compares the most recent two millennia of the average to other recent reconstructions. At the far right of this insert plot, it is possible to observe the emergence of climate from the last glacial period of the current ice age. During the Holocene itself, there is general scientific agreement that temperatures on the average have been quite stable compared to fluctuations during the preceding glacial period. The above average curve supports this belief. However, there is a slightly warmer period in the middle which might be identified with the proposed Holocene climatic optimum. The magnitude and nature of this warm event is disputed, and it may have been largely limited to high northern latitudes.

Because of the limitations of data sampling, each curve in the main plot was smoothed (see methods below) and consequently, this figure can not resolve temperature fluctuations faster than approximately 300 years. Further, while 2004 appears warmer than any other time in the long-term average, and hence might be a sign of global warming, it should also be noted that the 2004 measurement is from a single year (actually the fourth highest on record, see Image:Short Instrumental Temperature Record.png for comparison). It is impossible to know whether similarly large short-term temperature fluctuations may have occurred at other times, but are unresolved by the available resolution. The next 150 years will determine whether the long-term average centered on the present appears anomalous with respect to this plot.

Since there is no scientific consensus on how to reconstruct global temperature variations during the Holocene, the average shown here should be understood as only a rough, quasi-global approximation to the temperature history of the Holocene. In particular, higher resolution data and better spatial coverage could significantly alter the apparent long-term behavior (see below for further caveats). For another estimate of Holocene temperature fluctuations, see:

While any conclusions to be drawn from the long-term average must be considered crude and potentially controversial, one can comment on a number of well established inferences from the individual curves contributing to the average. First, at many locations, there exist large temperature fluctuations on multi-centennial scales. Hence, climate change lasting for centuries appears to be a common feature of many regions. Assuming the timing information from these records is reasonably accurate, it appears that in many cases large changes at any particular site may occur without correlating to similarly large changes at other sites. Secondly, it is also notable that different locations appear to take different amounts of time to reach typical Holocene conditions following the last glacial termination. Scientists generally agree that warming concluded in the far Southern Hemisphere earlier than in most other regions. In part, the prolonged climate change may be related to prolonged changes in sea level, which took till roughly 6000 years ago to reach near modern levels. Some of the differences may also reflect timescale uncertainties.

Editor's Note:
You can see the full Holocene Temperature Variations article here and please make every effort to discern all the facts before rushing to a conclusion.

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