Summers lost to fire and smoke. Biblical floods. Dying forests. Retreating coasts. Economic turmoil and political unrest. It’s going to be a weird century. Here’s what it will look like—and how Canada can get through it. By Anne Shibata Casselman

It’s Armel Castellan’s job to know the weather 24/7. As Environment and Climate Change Canada’s disaster preparedness meteorologist for B.C. and Yukon, he’s constantly on the lookout for extremes: subtropical cyclones, arctic cold fronts, floods, heat waves and fire weather.

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“Some years we’re going to have to restrict water and essentially ration it.
And there’ll be other years when we’ll perhaps be one of the few places in the
world that can still produce food reliably.”

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When he looked at the weather models in mid-June of 2021, he felt his heart beating in his throat. The skull-crushing ridge of high pressure he saw headed toward B.C. was so powerful, he knew immediately it would blanket a vast area in deadly heat. The models were forecasting temperatures so far outside of normal that the map interface on Castellan’s computer was displaying all new colours—greys and whites on a spectrum of intensity he’d only ever seen go to dark red. Within days, European, American and Japanese weather models converged on a consensus: a record-breaking pressure cooker would soon envelop western North America.

. . .
Extreme weather will cost Canada $100 billion every year. There was a time, not that long ago, when some people imagined Canada would ride out climate change with relative ease. Longer growing seasons would prove a boon for agriculture. An ice-free Northwest Passage would open new shipping routes and opportunities for agriculture. Those visions have faded, as the scale of disorder we’re facing looms larger.
. . .

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