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Nova Scotia could be nearly five degrees warmer by 2100: report

Waves pound the shore at Peggy's Cove, N.S. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan) Waves pound the shore at Peggy's Cove, N.S. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
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A new report from the Nova Scotia government paints a grim picture of how climate change could impact the Atlantic province by the year 2100 if more isn't done to address the crisis.

According to the report released Monday, Nova Scotia is already seeing warmer temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, more frequent and intense storms and rising sea levels.

If global greenhouse gas emissions aren't cut significantly by 2100, the numbers indicate that Nova Scotia could see:

  • an increase of 4.8 degrees Celsius in the average annual temperature
  • more nights that are warmer than 18 Celsius
  • a 10-per-cent increase in annual precipitation
  • higher peak wind speeds by 3.7 to seven kilometres per hour
  • sea level rise by up to one metre
  • an increase in the sea surface temperature by 5.1 degrees

"It's important to understand where and how we are vulnerable so we can all take action," said Minister of Environment and Climate Change Timothy Halman in a statement.

"We need to take a holistic view and recognize that climate change will affect the province and Nova Scotians in many ways - our economy, the environment, and our well-being. Together, we have an opportunity to make positive change and work to protect each other and all that we value."

The newly projected climate data comes as the province prepares to release its climate plan Wednesday.

"From rising sea levels and extreme weather to wildfires and flooding, climate change already presents risks to Nova Scotia's communities, environment and economy," said Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of Natural Resources Canada, in a release.

The report -- “Weathering What’s Ahead: Climate Change Risk and Nova Scotia’s Well-being” -- also includes a climate change risk assessment that both identifies areas of concern while looking at priorities and opportunities for action in Nova Scotia.

The province says those priorities include a need to adapt building capacity to prepare for multiple hazards related to the climate crisis, as well as acting on flooding and increased heat-related hazards.

"The concerns and priorities identified in the risk assessment show the importance of addressing climate change from a public health perspective," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang in a statement.

"From air quality to food and shelter, climate change can have wide-reaching and sustained impacts on human health. A focus on the public health impacts will allow us to prevent disease and better protect the health and well-being of all Nova Scotians."

According to the province, the risk assessment will be updated in 2025 and then every five years.

The new data come 11 years after the last climate change projections were released by the province in 2011, and 17 years since the last provincial risk assessment in 2005.

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