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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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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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Thunderstorm

Thunderstorms usually occur on summer afternoons. While a thunderstorm typically affects a given locality for only an hour or so during its passage overhead, the entire lifetime may be as long as 6-10 hours, along a pathway of several hundred kilometres.

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Rainfall Extremes

The amount of rain or snow that reaches the ground can vary dramatically on any particular given day, even over short distances. Many people have experienced a near-deluge of rain in their backyard, while at the same time their front yard or their neighbour's home remains quite dry.