April 2, 2019 9:43 pm
Updated: April 3, 2019 8:06 am

Climate change report warns of more extreme weather events in Alberta

WATCH ABOVE: A warmer climate will mean more intense, extreme weather — something our province is familiar with. Global News meteorologist Tiffany Lizee explains.

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Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and the effects are “irreversible,” according to a report from Environment and Climate Change Canada released this week.

READ MORE: Canada is warming and it’s irreversible. Why is it so hard to care?

The driving factor of climate change in our country is greenhouse gas emissions from human activity building in the atmosphere. A warmer climate will mean 10 times as many heat waves and twice as many extreme weather events.

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The report highlights two recent extreme weather events in Alberta: the 2013 floods in the province’s south and the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016.

“There’s a real climate change footprint in those fires in Fort McMurray, and the flood was very much a global warming flood that hit Bragg Creek, Canmore [and] Calgary,” said climatologist Shawn Marshall on Tuesday.

“It was really a footprint of what a warmer atmosphere looks like.”

WATCH below: Global News coverage of Alberta fires and floods

Warming is happening even faster in winter, leaving southern Canadians with more winter rainfall and northern Canadians with melting permafrost and less sea ice.

More than 40 scientists worked on the report and say if nothing is done to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions building in the atmosphere, Canadians will end up with 10 times as many deadly heat waves and twice as many extreme rainstorms.

READ MORE: Canada warming up twice as fast as rest of the world, and it’s ‘irreversible’: report

Climatologists are already noticing a shift towards more rain and less snow in Alberta.

The study shows average winter temperatures in the province have already increased by three degrees over the past seven decades and we’re seeing six per cent less snow.

Cody Coates/Global News

READ MORE: Canada’s slow progress on climate change ‘disturbing’: Environmental watchdog

Widespread warming will have a number of impacts on Alberta.

Warmer winters will mean less extreme cold events, smaller snowpacks, earlier snowmelt, higher streamflows and thawing permafrost.

Hotter summer weather will bring more heat waves, longer growing seasons and less soil moisture, which will result in a higher risk for wildfires and water supply shortages.

READ MORE: Lack of snow in southern Alberta causing drought concerns for spring

Marshall hopes the report will help the public further understand climate change in Canada and the impact humans have.

“It’s not hype — it’s just really the facts,” he said. “We need to make some strategic choices to make this a really sustainable, healthy, good place to live 50 years from now.”

WATCH BELOW: Why we don’t address climate change 

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— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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