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Climate Change

Climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns begin to shift. These periods of change have occurred throughout the Earth’s history over extended periods of time. However, since the Industrial Revolution the world has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, the current period of climate change is often referred to as “global warming.” Human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are largely responsible for this increased rate of change. The implications of this global increase in temperature are potentially disastrous and include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and loss of habitat for plants, animals and humans. In Canada, efforts to mitigate climate change include phasing-out coal-fired power plants in Ontario and instituting a carbon tax in British Columbia.

Macleans

Inside the Kyoto Deal

Alberta’s energy minister, Steve West, spent much of last week wearing a tight smile, his clenched jaw and square shoulders set as firmly as his conviction that people who blame the oilpatch for the next century’s foul weather have lost their heads.

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Permafrost

Permafrost is ground remaining at or below 0°C continuously for at least two years. About 50 per cent of Canada is underlain by permafrost, mainly in the Arctic Archipelago, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

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Floods in Canada

Floods are primarily caused by naturally occurring changes in the height of rivers, lakes and oceans. According to Public Safety Canada, floods are the most common natural hazard in the country and among the costliest. Historic floods have occurred across Canada, with many of the worst happening on major river systems that pass through populated areas. Scientists predict that flooding linked to the impacts of climate change will increase as the 21st century progresses, particularly in coastal areas of the country.

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Climate Severity

 Environment Canada devised the climate severity index to rate a locality's climate according to human comfort and well being. The index has a range from 1 to 100, with a score of 1 representing the least severe climate and 100 the most.

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Chinook

In Canada, the chinook belt lies almost exclusively within southern and central Alberta. The wind occurs in every season, but it is more distinctive and numerous in the winter, when the unseasonable warming it brings differentiates it from the normal cold winter weather.

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Indian Summer

Indian Summer, popular expression for a period of mild, summerlike weather which occurs in the autumn, usually after the first frost. The origins of the name are obscure, but it was in use early in the 19th century in Canada and even earlier in the US.

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Biogeoclimatic Zone

For example, in British Columbia, the Coastal Western Hemlock Zone is one of 14 biogeoclimatic zones. It occupies high precipitation areas up to 1000 m elevation west of the coastal mountains from the Washington to Alaska borders and beyond.

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Treeline

The treeline is controlled by CLIMATE in interaction with SOIL. In the North, it is correlated generally with the modal (most common) position of the southern edge of the arctic front in summer, and with such temperature indices as the July 10°C isotherm.

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Climate

Climate is often defined as average weather, when weather means the current state of the atmosphere. For scientists, climates are the result of exchanges of heat and moisture at the Earth's surface. Because of its size, Canada has many different climates.

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Pollution

Pollution can be defined as the release of any material, energy or organism that may cause immediate or long-term harmful effects to the natural ENVIRONMENT. Pollution was viewed initially as the unsightly mess or visible environmental damage resulting from careless disposal of various materials.

Macleans

Kyoto Accord Opposition Growing

In Alberta political circles, Lorne Taylor is sometimes referred to as the "egghead redneck." It is a mark of the man that Taylor, who is Alberta's environment minister and who holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology, takes more umbrage at the first half of that moniker than the latter.

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Cloud

  Cloud, visible suspension in the atmosphere composed of tiny water droplets or ICE crystals from about one to a few hundred micrometres in diameter.

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Rainbow

A rainbow is a coloured arc that occurs when sunlight shines onto falling raindrops and is refracted, then reflected back towards the observer. In this process, each drop acts as a tiny prism, splitting the sun's rays (according to wavelength) into their component colours.

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Acid Rain

Acid rain is the wet or dry deposition of acidic substances and their precursors on the Earth's surface. The ongoing industrialization of society has resulted in the increased release of acidic chemicals into the atmosphere.

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