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Navigating Climate Change: Essential Resources to Stay Informed

Explore the latest insights on climate change in Canada and discover invaluable resources to help understand and adapt to the challenges posed by climate change. 

In recent years, global concern over climate change has surged, with Canada experiencing firsthand the consequences, from extreme heatwaves to rampant forest fires. The Changing Climate Report underscores that Canada's climate will continue to warm with temperatures rising across all seasons due to global carbon dioxide emissions. The impacts including rising temperatures, erratic precipitation and diminished snow cover are undeniable.  Immediate action is crucial as Canadians across the country confront the direct impacts of climate change. 

This blog is dedicated to providing a comprehensive overview of climate change data and resources in Canada, serving as a valuable tool for readers seeking to delve deeper into this critical issue. By exploring the latest data and accessing pertinent resources, readers can gain a better understanding of how climate change specifically affects Canada. Furthermore, armed with this knowledge, individuals and communities can make informed decisions, anticipate future challenges and implement effective strategies to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate landscape. 

As we start our Climate Change Series, this initial blog explores climate-related data. This climate change resource blog is the first of three blogs focusing on different aspects of climate change. Look out for the next ones which will cover flood and hurricane preparedness. For readers interested in wildfires, we also offer a wildfire-related blog listing beneficial resources to track wildfire status in Canada. Let's work together towards a sustainable future. 

Resources List 

We will focus on five resources containing the latest Canadian climate change data. All of them provide comprehensive information covering various aspects of climate change. 

  1. ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World 

  1. Climate Change Data and Resource Hub  

  1. App Gallery 

  1. Community Engagement Gallery 

  1. Government Resources 

By exploring the site, users will gain insights into Canada's current climate crisis, as well as its adaptive measures and goals. We will incorporate some valuable datasets within each site and list them below each respective site. 

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is the foremost collection of geographic information from around the world. It includes apps, maps and data layers to support your work. Esri Canada has a dedicated team that curates all the Canadian content found in the Living Atlas. Easily accessible as it is built into the ArcGIS platform, the Living Atlas is a valuable resource when looking for climate related data. You will be able to find a variety of content from national or regional specific authoritative datasets to live feed services tracking Canadian wildfires and weather alerts. 

  1. Live Stream Gauges 

This dataset features near real-time stream gauge observations contributed by the GIS community, crucial for managing water resources and flood response. Updated hourly, it offers water depth insights and flow forecasts where available. 

  1. Active Wildfire Perimeters in Canada 

This layer shows how much area has burned so far. It's made by combining and looking at hotspots from this season. These estimates are not exactly accurate because the hotspots aren't perfect but they're good for big fires (over 200 hectares). When there aren't other ways to map fires, these estimates can help show how much area is burned. 

  1. Environmental Canada Live Weather Alerts 

This is the dataset that shows weather alerts for Canada. Environment and Climate Change Canada issues weather alerts to warn affected areas, helping people protect themselves and their property. Alerts vary in severity and timing, including warnings, watches, advisories and statements. Warnings are usually given 6 to 24 hours in advance but severe weather can strike rapidly. Criteria for alerts can be found online.  

Climate Change Data and Resource Hub 

The Climate Change Hub, developed and managed by Esri Canada, is a platform entirely focused on Canadian climate issues. It offers different topics of interest and provides abundant data and resources. By exploring the site, you will gain insights into Canada's current climate crisis, as well as our adaptive measures and goals. 

It covers four topics of interest: the transition to a greener economy, building resilient communities, protecting our ecosystems and reducing emissions. Each topic encompasses related subtopics and a wide range of data and apps. Check out the video above to discover how to use this site.  

These are some crucial resources on this website that will help users gain a better understanding of the current situation of climate change in Canada:

  1. CEC North American Atlas 

This is the item gallery from the CEC North American Atlas that collects geospatial data from Canada, Mexico and the United States providing a comprehensive view of cross-boundary environmental issues. You will find various climate-related geospatial datasets in this gallery.  

  1. Climate Change Projects in Canada 

Data detailing clean growth and climate change initiatives funded by the federal government since 2015 contribute to the Climate Action Map. This dataset encompasses projects aligned with mitigation, adaptation and clean technology goals, providing project names, descriptions, funding details, locations and recipients. 

  1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

This is a feature layer that tracks Canada's environmental sustainability with data. The Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program measures emissions from large facilities, aiding climate policies. Reported data validate national emission estimates. Information is accessible through maps, charts and reports with supplementary details on data sources and methods. 

  1. Renewable Energy Power Plants 

This map shows big renewable energy power plants in North America, like ones using wind or sunlight to make electricity. It's a project involving the US Department of Energy, Canada's Department of Natural Resources and Mexico's Ministry of Energy, as they aim to share information about energy. 

App Gallery

This website serves as a repository for ArcGIS Apps, offering users access to various Canadian web mapping applications. Users can easily navigate through a diverse range of applications available on the site. By utilizing the search box, users can efficiently locate climate change-related applications by entering relevant keywords. Explore featured applications that focus on the issue of climate change below: 

  1. Emissions Tracker: Climate Change Projects 

This application provides insights into Canada's climate goals. Page one focuses on achieving 90% emission-free electricity by 2030 with data on current sources and emissions. Page two features an interactive map showcasing diverse climate projects nationwide, filterable by department, name or type. 

  1. Active Wildfires & Weather Alerts 

This dashboard lists active wildfires across Canada with data updated every 3 hours. The affected areas are highlighted under each wildfire record. Additionally, the dashboard includes weather alerts updated every 15 minutes, covering nationwide alerts such as snowfall warnings. By consulting this dashboard, users can stay informed about any dangers in their vicinity and respond accordingly. 

  1. Provincial and Territorial Emergency Services Webmaps 

The Emergency Management Webmaps, provided by the Government Operations Centre offer strategic situational awareness for emergency managers. These maps contain data on infrastructure, demographics and regional incidents sourced from reliable authorities. They provide access to rich geographic data for management, planners and analysts, complementing traditional incident management systems. 

  1. WCS Conservation Stories 

Explore a collection of seven storymaps created by Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, each focusing on a different climate conservation theme. Dive into this collection to learn more about conservation studies in Canada. 

  1. Air Quality Aware Canada 

This is an application that utilizes real-time data from the Environment and Climate Change Canada API to provide the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). The AQHI measures air quality on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10+ indicating very high pollution levels. It also indicates the associated health risk, categorized as Low, Moderate, High or Very High. Real-time observations feed into the AQHI calculation.  

Community Engagement Gallery

The Esri Community Engagement Gallery is a platform for users to share their GIS projects focused on community engagement. It showcases maps, apps and multimedia content demonstrating innovative uses of geospatial technology in various community-oriented endeavors worldwide. 

Discover the valuable resources selected from various communities on this website, aimed at enriching users' understanding of climate change across diverse regions or communities.  

  1. ClimateReadyBC 

A site hosted by the Government of British Columbia is a central resource for individuals, communities, businesses and policymakers seeking to adapt to climate change impacts. It offers practical tools, data and guidance to support climate resilience efforts in British Columbia. 

  1. City of Calgary Environmental Map Gallery 

This is a repository of environmental theme maps from the City of Calgary. Each map comes with a clear description. Users will gain a better understanding of the City of Calgary’s environment by exploring these maps on the site. 

  1. City of Fredericton Environmental Dashboard 

This site is operated by the City of Fredericton, listing several environmental goals that the city is actively pursuing. Each goal has its detailed page with progress tracking, measurement methods and additional information. Explore this site to learn about the current status of the City of Fredericton's efforts. 

Government Resources 

In addition to the above geographical data-related sites, various government websites also offer relevant data on Canada's response to climate change. Some of these are at the federal level, while others are at the provincial level. These data sources can help readers gain a better understanding of where we stand in addressing the climate crisis. 

  1. Ontario Provincial Climate Change Impact Assessment 

A 2023 document aimed at evaluating the potential impacts of climate change on various aspects within Ontario. It provides analysis of climate projections, vulnerability assessments and risk assessments. Users can use this document to understand the threats posed by climate change and the strategies the government is taking to mitigate its effects. 

  1. Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan 

Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan is a vital policy document outlining strategies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. It provides a roadmap for policymakers, businesses and the public, detailing targets, policies and sector-specific strategies to combat climate change. Users can use this document to find out about Canada's efforts in meeting international commitments and protecting the environment. 

  1. BC Climate Change 

Explore the official website of the British Columbia government dedicated to climate change. Discover comprehensive information, resources and initiatives aimed at addressing climate change challenges within the province. From policies and programs to practical tips for individuals and communities, this site offers valuable insights and tools for understanding and tackling climate change in British Columbia. 

About the Author

Honghong Li, an Associate GIS Analyst at Esri Canada, focuses on providing support to both the Desktop Support and Development Support teams. Specializing in user assistance, she navigates users through Esri's ArcGIS Desktop products, demonstrating her versatility in GIS. Honghong's journey into GIS started during her undergraduate studies in Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where she discovered the potential of geographic information systems. Furthering her expertise, she pursued a Master of Geomatics for Environmental Management at UBC. Beyond her professional endeavours, Honghong finds joy in outdoor activities like snowboarding and hiking, seamlessly merging her technological expertise with a passion for adventure.

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