Indicators of Climate Change in British Columbia, 2002

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Both the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the US National Academy of Science have concluded that the global atmosphere is warming. They agree, moreover, that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years can be attributed to human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. British Columbia, for example, produced almost 16 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person in 1999, most through the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and industrial activity.

Atmospheric warming affects other parts of the climate system, including precipitation, air, wind and ocean currents, cloud cover, and the hydrological cycle. Climate change in turn affects other closely related physical systems, as well as biological systems, and the human communities that depend on these systems.

This report documents how the climate in British Columbia changed during the 20th century and the rates at which these changes occurred. It outlines the potential impacts of these changes on freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems and on human communities. It describes how climate change is likely to affect the province during the 21st century.

Excerpt from the report