Thursday, June 2, 2016

Climate change could severely affect the Canadian Prairies

A recent University of Winnipeg study says the Prairies could be the most-affected area in the world over the next few decades. Jeopardizing the Canadian breadbasket makes climate change the most serious threat to food security in Canada and much of the rest of the world.

The report suggests summers in the Prairies will become hotter and longer. Winnipeg could experience 46 days a year of temperatures above 30C. Currently, Winnipeg experiences 11 days of 30-degree weather on average a year.

Palliser's Triangle, delineating prairie soil types in the Prairie provinces
For Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, and Saskatoon, the number of days of 30-degree weather could be up to seven times current averages. Statistics paint a disturbing picture: more heat and less moisture will compromise our agri-food economy. Food will become less affordable, and the ability for some regions to grow food will greatly diminish.

Canada is ranked seventh in the world in cereal production and ninth in meat production; first in canola, second in oats, third in pulses and fourth in barley. Overall, as an agricultural exporting country, Canada ranks sixth.

The Prairies are home to nearly half of Canada’s farms and a much larger share of its cropland and grassland.
Experts predict crop yields could easily drop by more than 50 per cent in the Prairies as a result of climate change.

This means Canadian contribution to global food systems could be seriously endangered.

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