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Article

Weather Modification

Weather modification has been used in an attempt to increase rainfall and snowfall, to suppress hail, to clear fogs, to modify tropical cyclones and to suppress lightning. The term "weather modification" is not normally used to describe inadvertent changes in our WEATHER.

Article

Climate Information

Climate information is used by a variety of people. Building designers must be certain that their structures will withstand the strongest winds and be habitable during temperature extremes. Airlines, when possible, plan their routes to take advantage of the prevailing winds in the upper atmosphere.

Article

Urban Effect on Climate

Both land surface and air are altered by urbanization. Buildings change the geometric arrangement of the land surface, creating a rigid, rough system of blocks and street "canyons," especially in the centre of cities.

Article

Station PAPA

Station PAPA Ocean Weather Station "P" is commonly called Station PAPA after the code word for the letter P in the phonetic alphabet used by radio operators. Station PAPA is located in the N Pacific Ocean (50° N, 145° W) and has a water depth of 4200 m.

Macleans

Global Warming Crisis

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on February 21, 2000. Partner content is not updated.

Across the Arctic, the ominous signs are everywhere. With average temperatures in some parts of the Canadian North rising at the rate of about 1° C each decade, glaciers are in retreat. Scientists report a dramatic thinning of the Polar ice cap.

Article

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.

(This is the full-length entry about climate change. For a plain-language summary, please see Climate Change (Plain-Language Summary).)

Article

Polar Vortex

The polar vortex is a wind pattern surrounding the Earth’s poles. Both the North and South pole have polar vortices spinning around them. In both cases, the rotation is generally cyclonic — counter-clockwise around the North Pole and clockwise around the South Pole. While polar vortices exist year-round, they are strongest during each pole’s winter. Canadians tend to experience the effects of the North Pole’s polar vortex toward the end of winter. At this time, the vortex begins to weaken, and cold, polar air travels further south. Polar vortices are atmospheric phenomena which occur on other planets too, such as Mars, Venus and Saturn.