Climate Change

Climate change summary graphic

Graphic thumbnail: climate change summary graphic

This graphic contains text and representative photos highlighting some of the findings of this report for which climate change makes up at least part of the story. Examples are listed under four categories, from left to right: climate, physical and biological processes, species, and communities and biomes. Three statements appear beneath these categories with arrows indicating that as you progress through the categories from left to right there is (1) more feedback and more interactions with other stressors, (2) increasing time for climate change impacts to appear, and (3) less effective monitoring, shorter records, and less certainty.

The categories and examples are listed below as they appear in the graphic:


  • warmer across Canada
  • earlier springs
  • precipitation patterns altered

Physical and biological processes:

  • melting ice and warming permafrost
  • altered stream flow and lower lake levels
  • shorter snow-cover and lake-ice seasons
  • more coastal erosion
  • rising sea level
  • more primary production on land
  • expansion of some wildlife diseases
  • increased winter survival of some forest insects
  • increased wildfire


  • declines in abundance of some species
  • changes in ranges, timing of breeding, movement patterns

Communities and biomes

  • shrinking sea-ice biome
  • more shrubs in tundra
  • changes in forests at transition zones
  • changes in permafrost landscapes and wetlands
  • changes in food webs and population cycles

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Trends in mean annual temperature

Graphic thumbnail: trends in mean annual temperature

This map of Canada shows trends in mean annual temperature at climate stations with long-term records. Trends are shown as total change from 1950 to 2007. Temperature change is categorized into four ranges of magnitude: first, increases greater than 3 degrees Celsius; second, increases or decreases from 1.5 to 3 degrees Celsius; third, increases or decreases from 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Celsius; and fourth, increases or decreases from 0 to 0.5 degrees Celsius. The symbols on the map also show which of the trends are statistically significant. Overall the map shows a mix of significant and non-significant warming trends of varying magnitudes over most of Canada, along with a few low-magnitude cooling trends, none of which is statistically significant. A description of temperature trends on this map is in the main text.

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Canada geese arrival dates, Delta marsh

Graphic thumbnail: Canada geese arrival dates, Delta marsh

This graph shows the date of the arrival of Canada geese at Delta Marsh, plotted as points for each spring from 1940 to 2001. The trend line shows a progressively earlier arrival date, moving from an average date of April 29th to an average date of March 15th. This means that Canada geese arrived at Delta Marsh an average of more than two weeks earlier in 2001 than in 1940.

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Hatching dates for tufted puffins, Triangle Island

Graphic thumbnail: hatching dates for tufted puffins, Triangle Island

This graph shows the mean annual hatch date for tufted puffins from 1975 to 2002. An overall shift towards earlier hatch dates is evident. From 1975 to the early 1980s mean annual hatch dates ranged from July 25th to June 8th.  From the mid 1990s to 2002 the mean annual hatch date ranged from July 9 to approximately June 20th.

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Increases in evergreen shrubs and mosses, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut

Graphic thumbnail: increases in evergreen shrubs and mosses, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut

This stacked bar graph shows the increase in an index of the mass of different tundra vegetation categories in 1995, 2000, and 2007 on Ellesmere Island. Overall the total mass of vegetation increased significantly, as is described in the text below the graph. Mosses and evergreen shrubs, which together accounted for the majority of the tundra biomass, both increased in total mass between each study year. Lichens, flowering plants, grasses and sedges and deciduous shrubs all remained at approximately the same levels of biomass over the study period. An inset map shows the location of Ellesmere Island in the far north of the Arctic Ecozone+.

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