University of Lethbridge launched a new website to track climate change in Alberta. The website, albertaclimaterecords.com, is based on data from the University’s geology department, allows visitors to click on any 10 x 10 kilometre zone in Alberta and see how climate in this area has changed since 1950. Alberta Climate Records is part of a Master’s Thesis project by Christine Clark at the University of Lethbridge.
Her research explores methods for designing information visualizations about complex topics like climate change. The visualizations feature climate data provided by Dr. Stefan W. Kienzle, Associate Professor of Hydrology and GIS at the University of Lethbridge. The dataset is made up of nearly 5 million observed climate records between 1950 and 2010 for 6,834 locations across Alberta from 200 weather stations in Alberta.
The website indicates that, for example, Edmonton has nine more growing season days and 18 more heat-wave days than it did in 1950. This region also has warmer winter, having nine fewer frost days and 16 fewer frost days and 16 fewer below minus 25 days now than in 1950.
The data indicates significant increases in winter temperatures across the board with smaller increases in spring, summer and fall temperatures.
The impacts of a longer growing season has some positive impacts, however, climate change will also mean greater risk of extreme weather and crop failure, and will make pest risks such as the mountain pine beetle more widespread, according to Stefan Kienzle, chair of the University’s geology department.
The website currently tracks changes in six different climate measures: Growing Season Days, Heat Wave Days, Days Above 25 degrees, Frost Days, Full Days Above Freezing, Days Above – 25 degrees with 37 more are to be added in the near future.
Check out the website at: http://albertaclimaterecords.com.