Vital climate change warnings are being ignored, say experts in Science

February 12, 2009

Canada's inland waters, the countless lakes and reservoirs across the country, are important "sentinels" for climate change and Ottawa and the provinces are ignoring the warnings. That's the message from University of Alberta biologist David Schindler and colleagues in a paper to be released Feb. 12, 2009, in the prestigious publication, Science.

Schindler is a co-author of Sentinels of Change, which reviewed papers addressing the effects of climate change revealed in numerous long-term studies presented at a conference last September.

In his paper, Schindler highlighted studies that have shown that Canada and the United States will have to rethink plans to use the Laurentian Great Lakes as an emergency water supply if a dramatic shortage befalls North America in the future. Data collected by researchers indicate the water balance is the Laurentian Great Lakes is precarious because it is only renewing itself at the rate of less than one per cent a year.

Schindler and his co-authors also analyze a study involving carbon emissions. "Recent studies show that lakes release very high releases of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, in many cases higher than the surrounding forests in the same watersheds. This has been missed in climate modeling to date."

Schindler says more inland water studies are needed in Canada because they provide valuable data on water levels, carbon cycles, acid rain and the frequency of forest fires. There are three long-term inland water studies in Canada, all of them in Ontario. Schindler is calling for more funding and expansion of the research program.

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Can empathy lead to better decisions in water usage?

Related Stories

Saving Louisiana's coast

August 27, 2015

It was Day Nine after Katrina struck in 2005 when Sarah Mack's bosses at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans called her back to work.

Panama declares drought emergency

August 12, 2015

Panama's government has declared a state of emergency as it faces a drought that has prompted water restrictions, depleted reservoirs and affected shipping through its bustling canal.

Recommended for you

Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought

September 3, 2015

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars' worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice ...

Climate ups odds of 'grey swan' superstorms

August 31, 2015

Climate change will boost the odds up to 14-fold for extremely rare, hard-to-predict tropical cyclones for parts of Australia, the United States and Dubai by 2100, researchers said Monday.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GrayMouser
5 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2009
Change is good.
Arkaleus
5 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2009
I move that we immediately remove all public money from IPCC and all other climate researchers who cannot demostrate an accurate model from which they have based all their dire predictions.

If that models cannot pass qualitative and quantitative tests against real world observations, then their grants should be terminated.

We have already seen serious failures of their models, yet they have not changed their conslusions and publications. It seems no matter what the evidence is, the conslusions uniformly express an urgent crisis, all of which require immediate and drastic monetary and legal restrictions on human activity.

I reject the claims of crisis as unjustified, and I reject the political aims of these groups as harmful and contrary to the public good of our nations.

We need calm, rational, open debate of evidence and a baseline of understanding that includes the need of human beings to live on planet earth and to accept the changes of nature as a natural process and a continuum that we must adapt to.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.