New interactive map allows Canadians to see how hot their communities will get this century


WATCH: An interactive map developed by the University of Manitoba offers a glimpse for Canadians, and lets them visualize, just how hot a warming climate could make their own backyards over the next 80 years.  Mary Griffin reports.

A documentary made on Gabriola Island is one of the features of a new mapping project from the University of Manitoba called Climate Atlas Canada.

The documentary explains how on the island, winters have been less intense and summers are drier.

As Canadians adjust to a changing future, the Climate Atlas of Canada is interactive and lets users zoom down on cities like Victoria, Nanaimo or Campbell River to see for themselves how climate change is going to alter the local landscape between now the end of the century. Scientists developed the map so Canadians understand how climate change is likely to touch their lives as temperatures continue to rise in the coming decades.

Brian Starzomski, an associate professor with the University of Victoria’s school of environmental science, says climate change is having a dramatic impact on biodiversity.

“There are potentially really big changes that could happen in a place like Vancouver Island where there’s been so much degradation of habitats,” Starzomski said.

“And it’s really about the cumulative effects of all the things that have happened. like climate changes in land use. The invasive species that are already here.”

Although it’s wet and cold on Vancouver Island, the province is gearing up for another long, hot, forest fire season on the province’s south coast.  More than 1,300 fires burned in the province between April and November last year,  displacing thousands, and costing B.C. more than $560 million. The BC Wildfire Service is adapting to how it fights fires in the future.  Kevin Skrepnek, the chief fire information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service said they are busy preparing for another long, hot, dry summer.

“We’ve brought our crews on earlier in the spring, and kept them on later in the fall, recognizing we do have a creeping fire season in terms of when we need to be concerned about,” Skrepnek said.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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