2016 is currently the warmest year on record, however, the previous record was set in 2015, and before that 2014 held the record. This all points to a disturbing trend, that average global temperatures just keep rising. In fact, a new report from Health Canada and the Science Media Center of Canada (SMCC) puts the average temperature rise over the past 60+ years into the perspective.
According to the report, Canada is now an average of 3 °F (1.7 °C) warmer than it was in 1948. The warming trend has resulted in the melting sea ice, thawing permafrost, and changing precipitation patterns.
Heat waves have also threatened lives across the country, with southern Ontario’s hospitals reporting an 11% rise in visits to the emergency room during a recent heat wave. Extreme heat waves like the 2010 heatwave which caused 280 deaths in Québec are unfortunately just becoming common.
“There is no denying it and no doubt about it: our planet is warming and climate change is well underway, around the world and right here in Canada. And extreme heat events are one of the consequences. Periods of extreme heat are uncomfortable, but they can also exacerbate existing health conditions, such as asthma, and put people at risk for heat-related illnesses, even death,” the report reads.
Unfortunately, the situation is only going to get worse, at least in the near future. According to the report, almost all of Canada will continue to warm over the next 80 years.
“Even with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, Canada’s summers are projected to warm by 1.5° C to 2.5° C by mid-century. Those temperatures will be higher if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated,” reads the report.