Browse "Climate"

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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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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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January Thaw

January thaw, or bonspiel thaw as it is called on the Prairies, is a climatic phenomenon of unseasonably warm weather that tends to occur at about the same time every year, usually within about 10 days after the middle of January.

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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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La Niña

La Niña describes an extensive cooling of the waters in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. To qualify as a full-fledged La Niña, the cooling must persist for at least 3 seasons. La Niña events are cyclical, recurring every 3 to 5 years, but the interval can vary from 2 to 10 years.

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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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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.

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Pondweed

Pondweed is a common name for members of the family Potamogetonaceae [Gk potamos, "river"], which consists of the genus Potamogeton.

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Rain

Central US lows, entering Canada somewhere between Manitoba and Québec, are of major environmental significance because they pass through the industrial heartland of the US and frequently bring ACID RAIN.

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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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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.

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Sea Ice

Sea ice formed by the freezing of seawater and floats on the surface of the polar oceans. Its coverage varies with the seasons; in the Northern Hemisphere sea ice ranges from a minimum of about 9 million km2 in September to a maximum of about 16 million km2 in March. In the Southern Hemisphere the range is from 3 million to 19 million km2, with the minimum and maximum coverage occurring in February and September respectively. The thickness of sea ice can vary from a few centimetres for newly formed ice in protected locations to 20 m or more in ridges; however, typical thicknesses are about 3 m in the Arctic and about 1 m in the Antarctic.

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Snow

The size of a snowflake is related to how far the snowflake has fallen from the sky and to how well colliding snow crystals stick to each other. The largest snowflakes are usually observed near 0° C because of the increased forces of adhesion at these temperatures.

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Solar Energy

Solar Energy is electromagnetic radiation (including infrared, visible and ultraviolet light) released by thermonuclear reactions in the core of the sun.

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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.