As climate change plays out around the world and across the landscapes of southeastern BC this page will offer a range of articles that display the potential environmental and social impacts that are occurring and some possible ways that we can assist our local landscapes in adapting to those changes. We will also identify information from other parts of the globe that may be relevant to understanding what is happening, and may yet happen in our area.
At present, we as a civilization, are emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels, clearing forests for agriculture, raising livestock and using cement. Much of the emitted carbon dioxide is also taken up by the oceans.
As these GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere they result in gradual long-term increase in the temperature of the earth’s surface and oceans, and significant changes to weather patterns. As global warming melts glaciers around the world, the resulting runoff is also raising sea level. Simultaneously carbon dioxide added to the oceans is increasing the acidity of the oceans.
Although we have known about GHGs and climate change for decades we have done almost nothing to combat this growing problem. As the scale of the negative impacts are becoming more and more obvious we still seem incapable of significant action. As the adjacent figure indicates, even if the recent Paris Accord is fully implemented we will still be facing a very uncertain future.
The following sections provide commentary on various related topics, as well as reports and presentations that can be downloaded, and links to other relevant resources. More issues and updates will be added periodically.
Numerous studies over the past decades have projected dramatic changes in wildland fire related to climate change for various parts of the world. These studies have projected increases in: fire seasons length, occurrences of exteme fire weather, average annual area burned and the occurrence of extreme fire events.
Over the past decade these projections have begun to be borne out with some very dramatic fire events in Western Canada and the Western US. Zeroing in on Southeast BC we had a number of large fires in 2003, including fires in Kelowna, Mount Ingersoll, Kutetl Creek, Kuskanook Creek and Lamb Creek, followed by the Springer Creek, Sitkum Creek, Hamill Creek and Pend d’ Oreille River fires in 2007, capped off by the Rock Creek blaze in 2016. Alberta has also had a few recent disasters, Slave Lake in 2011 and Fort McMurray in 2016.
A recent presentation relating climate change and fire risk for the Slocan Valley is available for download below. It is broken into 3 parts for ease of downloading.