While we don’t yet know the potential magnitude of the changes, it will probably affect arctic regions most dramatically. Scientists are predicting loss of habitat, endangering species like the polar bear and caribou.
But this week I read about the most shocking loss of all. Winterlude.
As reported by the CBC, commissioners in Ottawa are preparing for future in which the Rideau Canal through the city might not freeze in January. In which the Gatineau Hills might no longer be covered in snow. In which temperatures might stay above freezing all winter long!
Climate change is endangering several of Ottawa’s favourite winter pastimes, including skating on the Rideau Canal and cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park, says a National Capital Commission report.
Last fall, the NCC commissioned a study to determine how it should adapt winter attractions to rising temperatures. The report shows winter temperatures could rise by 12.5 degrees by the 2080s, with an increase of precipitation mostly in the form of rain. Those rising temperatures could lead to a “complete loss of cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park” by the 2050s.
In the name of goodness, what have we done? What kind of a world are we leaving our children? No snow and above freezing temperatures? Oh, the humanity!