It’s cold, but warming real

By David Suzuki

Weather and climate aren’t the same. It’s one thing for people who spend little or no time learning about global warming to confuse the two, but when those we elect to represent us don’t know the difference, we’re in trouble.

For a U.S. president to tweet about what he referred to as “Global Waming” because parts of the country are experiencing severe winter conditions displays a profound ignorance that would be embarrassing for an ordinary citizen, let alone the leader of a world power.

To understand the distinction, it’s important to know the difference between “global warming” and “climate change.” Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there’s a subtle difference. Current global warming refers to the overall phenomenon whereby global average temperatures are steadily increasing more rapidly than can be explained by natural factors. Much of the climate change we’re already seeing — from increasing extreme weather events to floods and drought to altered ocean currents — is a result of global warming.

That’s leading to a range of impacts, “including rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times,” according to NASA. That, in turn, affects everything from the food we grow and eat to water availability to human migration.

Both “global warming” and “climate change” refer to average long-term phenomena and effects, whereas “weather” refers to local changes in climate “on short timescales from minutes to hours to days to weeks,” such as “rain, snow, clouds, winds, thunderstorms, heat waves and floods,” NASA says.

So, what about those record cold temperatures in parts of the eastern U.S. and Canada? To start, global warming is global; it doesn’t refer to one specific place. While parts of North America are experiencing record cold, places like Australia are seeing record-breaking heat. Globally, the past four years have been the hottest on record, and the warmest 20 have occurred over the past 22 years.

Several studies show global warming is causing an increasing number of cold-weather events in eastern North America. “Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it’s cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer,” said Jennifer Francis, research professor of marine and coastal sciences in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, who co-authored one study published in Nature Communications.

This, according to National Geographic, also means “floods last longer and droughts become more persistent.”

The study found, “severe winter weather is two to four times more likely in the eastern United States when the Arctic is abnormally warm than when the Arctic is abnormally cold.” Winters are also colder in northern Europe and Asia when the Arctic is warm. The opposite is true in western North America, where severe winter weather is more likely “when the Arctic is colder than normal.” The effects are more pronounced when Arctic warming reaches beyond the surface, causing disruptions in the stratospheric polar vortex.

Warmer temperatures can also lead to increased precipitation, which falls as snow when temperatures drop below freezing. As a Scientific American article notes, warmer temperatures in winter 2006 prevented Lake Erie from freezing for the first time in history, which “led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation.”

Melting ice in the Arctic, Antarctic and on glaciers exposes land or sea, creating feedback loops, as dark surfaces absorb more solar heat than ice and snow, which reflect it. This accelerates warming.

So, no, a cold day where you live isn’t evidence that global warming is a “hoax.”

– David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Source: Castanet

Heavy snow and bitter cold in Environment Canada’s forecast for Ontario

TORONTO _ The Environment Canada forecast says Ontario is in for a blast of heavy winter weather today.

Snowfall warnings, and special weather advisories have been issued for most areas of the province.

A weather system moving from west to east is expected to dump five to 15 centimetres of snow across the region starting this morning. As much as 25 centimetres could fall on parts of the Greater Toronto Area.

Winds gusting to 50 kph are expected to blow the snow around, making for treacherous driving conditions.

And it will be cold, with frostbite inducing wind chill values of minus 20 C to minus 30 C.

Extreme cold warnings have been posted across northern Ontario. The forecast high today for Thunder Bay is minus 21 C with wind chill values ranging from minus 28 to minus 50.

Climatologists have long warned that extreme weather, including floods, will become more common as temperatures warm.

Read more

Winter storm brings snow, rain, wind & cold to Eastern, Central Canada

A powerful winter storm that brought heavy rain and snow to much of Eastern and Central Canada has closed schools, flooded streets, knocked out power and is forcing school buses to stay off the roads in Toronto today as temperatures plummet.

Weather warnings remained in place in much of the region, cautioning that Sunday’s nasty storm system could deliver a one-two punch as plunging temperatures cause slush, pooling water and any precipitation to flash freeze.

Schools in much of New Brunswick were closed today, and some offices and universities were delaying their openings following rains that left some streets in areas like Saint John submerged under ice-clogged waters.

Several Toronto school boards, including the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board, decided to cancel bus service out of concerns that frigid temperatures could delay travel and put students at risk as they wait for pickup.

NB Power reported about 3,000 customers were without electricity, while Nova Scotia Power said about 34 outages were affecting just over 1,100 customers.

Environment Canada was forecasting flurries and ice pellets or freezing rain in New Brunswick this morning changing to snow in the afternoon with winds gusting to 40 km/h, and wind chill temperatures as low as minus 50 Celsius.

Wind and rainfall warnings have been posted in central Nova Scotia, while in Prince Edward Island a flash freeze warning has been issued with rain showers expected to change to flurries early in the afternoon.

Newfoundland is dealing with wind and rainfall warnings, with 20 millimetres of precipitation forecast for the south coast, along with 50 km/h winds gusting to 80 and even 100 km/h in some areas.

In Quebec and Ontario the snow has largely stopped falling, but extreme cold warnings remain in place with wind chills expected to drop to almost minus 40 in Toronto.

Montreal and Ottawa are looking at daytime highs of just minus 15 to 17 with icy wind chills as low as minus 40 where exposed skin can suffer frostbite in just minutes.

Sunday’s snow storm caused some flight cancellations at airports across the affected regions, and in Montreal they even cancelled a festival dedicated to snow.

The city said it was suspending the Fete des Neiges due to the snowy, windy and cold weather as well as the dangerous conditions on Quebec’s roads.

IMGlobal: Insurance Coverage for the 2018 Hurricane Season

As seen during the fall of 2017, hurricane season can bring tremendous loss to all citizens and residents of affected areas as well as to tourists and travelers.

On September 13, 2018, Hurricane Florence reached land as a Category 2 hurricane; however, the size of the storm was one of the largest in history. The storm brought damaging winds of up to 85 mph and several feet of storm surge.

As the Carolinas continue to deal with the after-effects of Hurricane Florence, several other tropical storms have already been named and are being monitored closely by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A complete list can be found at https://www.weather.gov/.

Earlier this year, the NOAA released the following estimates for the following 2018 hurricane season:

  • 10-16 tropical systems
  • 5-9 systems becoming hurricanes
  • 1-4 hurricanes being category 3 or higher

For assistance in determining if you should purchase travel insurance during hurricane system, you can get more information here: 2018 Hurricane Season.

* Other benefits may also be available depending on the type of coverage purchased and the specific circumstances of the loss. Please refer to the plan for complete terms and conditions of coverage. This is a brief description of coverage provided under form series TP-210 and TP-401 and is subject to the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the plan.  Please see the plan for complete details. Coverage may vary or may not be available in all states.

 

SOURCE International Medical Group (IMG)

Cost of Severe Weather Across Canada Reaches $1.4 billion in Insured Damage

Summer storms across the Prairies continue to demonstrate the financial costs to consumers and tax payers. The July and August storms in Alberta and Saskatchewan caused more than $240 million in insured damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles. This brings the total of insured damage across Canada to $1.4 billion, thus far in 2018.

Severe storms brought damaging wind gusts and large hail to central Alberta and central Saskatchewan on July 6 and 7, 2018. The storm downed large trees onto recreational vehicles and cabins in the Saskatchewan Lakeland region causing $40 million of insured damage.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds consumers to be insurance aware and to check what your policy covers before severe weather hits. Ask your insurance representative about what coverage is included or what you need to add on, like overland flood coverage, for example. Consumers can also call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre with their questions, at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

To learn how to protect your property against floods and other disasters, visit IBC’s website.

Quote

“Costs from severe weather events in the Prairies and across the country have been increasing. Insured losses is only part of the picture, taxpayers also foot the bill. We all have a role to play in adapting to the changing climate. We need to look at increased access to flood maps so that consumers understand their risk, better land use planning and updated building codes.”

– Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, IBC (Acting)

Key Facts

Severe weather events have hit the Prairies, resulting in over $500 million in insured damage.

  • May 2017: Wind, water and flood damage near Lacombe, Alberta, resulted in $68 million in insured damage.
  • June 2017: A hail storm in Saskatchewan caused more than $46 million in insured damage.
  • July 2017: Wind and water damage in in Yorkton and Melville, Saskatchewan, and in parts of Alberta resulted in over $50 million in insured damage.
  • October 2017: A windstorm in Dauphin and Winnipeg, Manitoba, and parts of Alberta caused over $100 million in insured damage.
  • June 2018: Wind, rain and hail in Saskatchewan and Manitoba resulted in $90 million in insured damage.
  • July 2018: Severe thunderstorms in central Alberta caused $120 million in insured damage.
  • August 2018: Hail, strong winds and heavy rain in Alberta and Saskatchewan resulted in $30 million in insured damage.

Additional Resources

IBC.ca – severe weather
Preparing for severe weather

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_West or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

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