That may not sound like much, but scientist Alan Nursall says it represents a tremendous amount of extra heat trapped in the atmosphere over an extended period of time.
“We’ve gone through an exceptionally warm period,” Nursall told members of Friends of Lake Laurentian on Oct. 20. “We really didn’t have much of a winter last year.”
Nursall gave a brief address at the group’s annual general meeting held at the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, where he was one of four people named patrons of the group. Other inductees include Olympic gold medallist Tessa Bonhomme, photographer Mike Grandmaison and Meagan McGrath, who has scaled some of the world’s tallest mountains.
Nursall was present to receive his honour, and gave a brief talk about climate change and what it means locally. He showed satellite images of the Great Lakes, highlighting how more than 40 million people depend on the fragile lakes for clean water.
“What you see here is more than water,” he told the crowd of about 30. “It a unique global ecosystem.”
He outlined weather patterns and showed how temperature change is charted over 30-year periods. If you look at average monthly temperatures in Sudbury in the period from 1951-1980, and then compared them to the same period from 1981-2010, Nursall said you can clearly see the global warming trend.
“Our winters have been changing,” he said. “And the temperatures in Sudbury have increased dramatically.”
After his talk, the group moved outside to officially open the NASA Trail. A 100-metre hike off the existing Link Trail, the NASA Trail was built with help from the members of the Killarney Ontario Rangers, who help cleared trails and update signage along the route. It’s named NASA because in the 1960s, researchers at Laurentian University used the area to help NASA with a study chartering the exact shape of the Earth.
Launched a year ago, Friends of Lake Laurentian aims to enhance public enjoyment of the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. They work on developing trails in the area, and promote outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, hiking, sightseeing and skiing. They also offer Camp Bitobig, a summer day camp program for kids over age 6.