Climate Change. Climate Adaptation. Climate Services. It’s not always clear what these terms mean. This section provides an overview of a few foundational concepts and some resources to get started with.
Understanding Our Changing Climate
“Climate change” evokes different ideas and emotions. At ClimateWest, we use climate change to refer to measurable changes to average climate trends that persist for decades or longer due to human activity—namely the emission of greenhouse gases. Canadian weather records show that every year since 1998 has been warmer than the 20th century average. The Prairie as a region has already experienced warming, too, which plays out in many ways generating both risk and opportunity.
While “climate mitigation” tends to focus on efforts to curb emission levels, “climate change adaptation” recognizes that climate changes are already underway and more warming will be unavoidable. It’s this latter challenge that ClimateWest is focused on. Successful climate adaptation does not mean that the negative impacts of climate change will not be felt; only that its effects will be less severe compared to what would be experienced had no adaptation occurred.
Climate services is an emerging term for the provision of climate information and support that meets the needs of a variety of users. Climate information can include climate data such as the outputs of climate models as well as guidance and training on how to integrate climate information into decision-making processes. ClimateWest is a climate service provider that focuses on tailoring climate information to support adaptation activities, such as risk and vulnerability assessments, planning, monitoring and evaluation.
Climate Atlas on the topic of Climate Science
Produced by the Prairie Climate Centre, the Climate Atlas of Canada unpacks climate science and climate change with short summaries and videos featuring Canadian experts and examples.Read More
Canada’s Changing Climate Report
Released in 2019 by the Government of Canada, this report is about how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future. This report, at 400+ pages, is a comprehensive overview of climate change across the Canadian landscape.Read More
Glossary hosted by ClimateData.ca
As part of the national climate data portal, ClimateData.ca has made an online glossary of key terms related to climate change and climate science. This is a helpful reference tool for non-experts to look up a term or acronym from a credible source.Read More
Access Our Help Desk
ClimateWest is here to help find climate information and resources relevant to the Prairie region. If you can’t find what you need in our Resources section, contact our Help Desk.