UPDATE: Canada Warming Twice as Fast as Rest of the World: New Report

Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and it's "effectively irreversible."

That finding comes from a new report from Environment and Climate Change Canada. The report found the average temperature in the country is 1.7C higher today than it was 70 years ago, while the average global temperature is up 0.8C.

At stake is just how bad that warming gets, say several scientists who presented the Canada's Changing Climate Report in Ottawa on Monday.

It means Canadians will end up with 10 times as many deadly heat waves and twice as many extreme rain storms.

Speaking on AM800's the Morning Drive, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada David Phillips says the report should cause some people to pause and control what we can--the speed of change.

"Scientists are very cautious, they are very conservative kinds," he says. "They don't often make alarming statements but I think there is a lot in this to pause and to think it seems to be the uniform kind of change is change itself."

Phillips says Windsorites should get used to the warmer seasons, including summer.

"Tropical nights where the temperature stays above 20C, you see about 12 of those on average now, where there is some tossing and turning if you don't have air conditioning and what we see by the middle of the century, or in another 50 years, we see about 54 of those suckers."

Phillips says the planet has always changed, but the main issue today is that people are prompting the change and a fast pace.

Based on the work of 43 federal and university-based scientists who reviewed published scientific literature over the last two years, the report is stark in its findings, says Elizabeth Bush, a climate-science adviser at Environment Canada.

"We are already seeing the effects of widespread warming in Canada," said Bush. "It's clear, the science supports the fact that adapting to climate change is an imperative. Urgent action is needed to reduce emissions."

The Canadian Arctic has been hit even harder, with a 2.3C increase, creating a risk that by the middle of this century most marine regions in the Canadian North will be ice-free for at least a month at a time.

Warming is happening even faster in winter, with a 3.3C average temperature increase between December and February, leaving southern Canadians with more winter rain and northern Canadians with melting permafrost and less sea ice. More rain and less snow could have a significant impact on the availability of fresh water in parts of the country, particularly in the summer, the report notes. Snow that accumulates but doesn't melt until later in the year is effectively banked water.

Warmer winters also mean certain species that can't survive our winters now will start to do so, bringing pests and diseases to Canada we aren't used to seeing.


With files from the Canadian Press and CTV News