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3/10/2008

Weather getting wilder

Canada

Climate change research points to years of stormy weather ahead for much of province



Newfoundland and Labrador —
like most of the planet — has experienced a faster rate of climate change over the past 20 to 30 years than it has in the previous hundreds of years, and in the previous thousands of years. The province has seen stronger winds, more thunder storms, more lightening, more snow in winter and more rain in spring. Summers have been getting longer and hotter. Generally, the province is getting less fog and less freezing rain on the Avalon Peninsula, but weather change varies in different regions of the province. The west coast has been receiving more precipitation in recent years, but the Burin Peninsula has received less. Newfoundland is experiencing more extreme weather, but nothing that it hasn’t seen before. “It’s the same game but now the frequency and stakes are a little higher.” Science tells us to expect more of the same — in other words more storms, snow and rain in winter and spring, and longer, drier, hotter summers. Change in precipitation is more dangerous than changes in temperature. Storms are of greatest concern. In recent years the province has experienced devastating floods in Badger, Stephenville and parts of Placentia Bay hit by tropical storm Chantal. “We can take advantage of our strengths and use this in terms of successfully adapting. We have to adapt to it. We have a pretty good idea of what we can do.” Natural environmental factors are behind some climate change and humans are not entirely responsible. Efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses and carbon dioxide emissions are important. But they stressed the importance of reacting and adapting to climate change that is currently underway.
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