Whether you were basking in the glow or struggling to stay cool, you undoubtedly noticed the unseasonably warm weather that hit Southern Ontario in the final weeks of the month.
What has been called the “September Summer” was definitely a weather anomaly. Meteorologists noted record-breaking temperatures, and many cities had to re-open public pools and splash pads that had been put to bed.
While some were enjoying this last, late glimpse of summer, others were really feeling the heat.
The Consequences of Ontario’s Heat Wave
The heatwave was difficult for those without air conditioning, including many schools in the Greater Toronto Area, built back when these temperatures were unheard of after the start of the semester. Some, including teachers, called for schools in the Toronto District School Board to be shut down.
Heat and humidity resulted in poorer air quality in Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Sarnia, and much of the Peel, Durham, and Halton regions, posing danger to children, seniors, and people with respiratory conditions like asthma.
The weather has also been challenging to many Ontario farmers. After a damp and cloudy summer, the heat has taken a toll on crops of apples and grapes, which couldn’t come at a worse time – right at the start of the harvest.
Rising Temperatures a Rising Trend in Canada
While this September was notably warm, it wasn’t an isolated incident. Average global temperatures are on the rise, and Canada is no exception. A joint report from Health Canada and the Science Media Centre of Canada found that Canada is, on average, a full 1.7 degrees warmer today than it was in 1948.
This has far-reaching consequences. In Canada’s north, permafrost thaw and decay is increasing the amount of methane released into the atmosphere, which has the potential to accelerate rising greenhouse gas levels. Melting glaciers in Canada are also a major contributor to rising sea levels.
Reversing the effects of global warming is a worldwide effort that requires the cooperation of governments and organizations at each corner of the globe. Canada has committed to play a role by phasing out coal and moving towards 90% renewable energy sources by 2030.
As individuals, we can contribute by reducing the amount of energy we use to heat and cool our homes, and power our appliances day-to-day.