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ECCC Scientists contribute to worldwide effort to track Climate

For many of us, working at Environment and Climate Change Canada is more than a job – working directly on the frontlines in the fight against climate change is a calling. At ECCC, many of our scientist are dedicated to tracking the long-term effects of a changing climate, contributing to an important body of evidence that informs the public, as well as decision-makers. We are proud to share the work of Lawrence Mudryk, Ross Brown, Chris Derksen, Kinson Leung, Vincent Cheng and David Phillips as part of the recently published State of the Climate in 2019 report.

Compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information, the report is published each summer and provides a summary of the global climate, an update on global climate indicators such as surface and water temperatures, notable weather events like floods and wildfires, and other data collected on land, water, ice and in space.

This year’s report contains contributions from 250 scientists from around the world, including six from ECCC. Our department has contributed to the State of the Climate reports for over ten years as part of our role in providing credible, high-quality scientific information to an international audience. But, what does that mean here in Canada?

Regional Climate Contributions

The 2019 findings were consistent with past reports. Global temperatures are rising, and 2019 is among the warmest years according to records that date back to the mid-1800s. This upward rise in temperature is evident in Canada.

Kinson Leung worked alongside fellow scientist Vincent Cheng to apply research methodology to data provided by the Meteorological Service of Canada, and Senior Climatologist, David Phillips, provided Canada’s top ten weather stories of 2019. Their collaborative work is in the Canadian sub section of the Regional Climate chapter. “The 2019 national annual temperature was 0.2 °C above the 1981-2010 average (15th warmest year), and has increased 1.7°C since nationwide records began in 1948."

Findings on the Arctic

ECCC scientists Lawrence Mudryk, Chris Derksen and Ross Brown played a leadership role in documenting Arctic snow cover variability and trends for the 2019 report’s chapter on the Arctic.

Monitoring changes in Arctic snow is an important undertaking because changes to snow cover have major influences on the global climate system and northern ecosystems. ECCC scientists highlighted the exceptionally early melt that occurred across the Arctic in 2019, which is one part of a broader picture of changes to Arctic snow conditions associated with amplified warming seen over the past decades. They also noted enduring changes to the land, ice, ocean and atmosphere of the Arctic, all linked to increasing temperatures.

What now?

This leading edge research by ECCC scientists is contributing to improved understanding and public awareness of climate change. It also informs decision making in Canada and internationally, emphasizing the importance of continued research and investment in climate science.

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