By Dr. Norman Henderson
Droughts will occur more frequently and be of longer duration and greater intensity. But while the overall trend is towards a drier Saskatchewan, we can also expect increased climate variability and an increasing frequency of severe or extreme climate events. So within the context of generally increasing dry conditions we can expect to experience flooding events or even an extremely wet year or two.
LESS RIVER FLOW
SHIFTS IN FARM CROP ZONES
Shifts in crop zones are occuring now and will continue. In theory, higher grassland and crop productivity could result from increased carbon dioxide or from a longer and warmer growing season, but in most cases aridity will more than cancel out any carbon dioxide fertilization effect. New pests and disease vetors will likely survive warmer winters.
There will be major ecosystem impacts. Aquatic habitats will be stressed: various fish species may disappear from particular lakes and rivers and some waterfolw populations will decline substantially. Change in land ecosystems will be most visible in isolated forests and forest fring areas, where forests will give way to shrub or grassland landscapes. Species that are not native to Saskatchewan may increase, while some native species will decline or disappear entirely. We will see new and unprecented ecosystems develop.
MORE FOREST FIRES
CHANGES HOW WE LIVE
Everyone is affected by climate change, but rural communtites, especially those dependent on agriculture or forestry, are the most ta risk. Resource-based rural Aboriginal communities will expereince growing threats to traditional lifestyels of hunting, fishing and gathering.
In conclusion, we know that climate change is accelerating. To some degree we can preditc the impacts of climate change on the physical landscape, and by inference, on our economies and societies. But what will be the disorienting and disturbing sprititual impact on us as the earth, waters and sky around us shift and change beyond all experience?