“There’s no place like home.”
—Dorothy, in “The Wizard of Oz”
Frequently I post information on my blog about what’s been happening in the US regarding weather records being broken. Someone recently asked me why I don’t post Canadian records so much, given that I live in Canada. Well, let me tell you why.
- The US has been more dramatically affected by climate change than Canada has of late, with much more extreme weather. (Canada doesn’t experience too many hurricanes, for example, simply because of its latitude.) In years to come if our planet stays on the same course, Canada is predicted to be one of the safer havens for climate refugees to travel to. The Great White North will become even greater, it would appear.
- Most of those who follow my blog regularly are American as far as demographics go—by about a ten-to-one ratio—which makes sense since the populations of the two nations are about ten-to-one. With such a large American following, and with so many more climate change deniers and skeptics found south of the border than in my home country, I tend to write to appeal to them a bit more.
- American weather data is easier to obtain than similar information for Canada.
The graph depicts three useful pieces of information:
- the normal highs and lows (the smooth green bars) averaged over the last thirty years, and therefore already impacted by global warming to an extent compared with older records from the early to mid-twentieth century
- the record highs and lows (purple and black data sets) dating back to 1938, and
- what the actual highs and lows were over the past twelve months (the red and blue data sets)
It’s interesting to see this raw unfiltered data. I see no possible way it can have been manipulated since I generated the graph myself and included all recorded data points with no exclusions whatsoever. You don’t have to look too hard to realize that there are probably about 25 records over the last year that matched or broke the all-time highs recorded for the city of Toronto through nearly 75 years of recordings. Yet there are no records broken among the lows.
It seems Canada isn’t as immune to global warming compared with the US as I thought, and in fact we’re breaking just as many records as they are south of the border. Toronto isn’t unique in this regard either: Ottawa and Montreal both generated similar charts with at least ten highs broken compared with zero lows.
It’s true: when the extreme weather hits home, the point hits home.