Banner Photo: Waters in Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound  where temperatures have many impacts both below water and above water. (Credit: Tracey Saxby)

2020 Rating

2020 Rationale

Globally, record-breaking temperatures continue to occur, which directly impacts ocean temperatures. Ocean warming is causing ecosystem-wide changes. Data specific to Átl’ḵa7tsem/Txwnéwu7ts/Howe Sound is limited.

2017 Rating

2017 Rationale

Following record years for increasing ocean temperatures worldwide, Howe Sound is showing signs its waters are also warming. Warming can mean major change and lack of data specific to Howe Sound causes local uncertainty.

The following is an excerpt from the full updated article. Download the full 2020 article for all content and references.

Ocean Warming: what’s

heating up the Sound?

Author:  Peter Chandler, Ocean Sciences Division, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Reviewer: Jeff Marliave, Senior Research Scientist, Howe Sound Conservation and Research Team, Ocean Wise Research Institute

Excerpt from 2020 article

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2019 was the second warmest year on record since 1880 (Figure 1). Globally, the average temperature from combined land and ocean surface was 0.95°C above the twentieth-century average.

The globally averaged ocean-only temperature for 2019 was 0.77°C above average, also the second highest year on record. Many of the major oceans, including the Pacific Ocean, had record high sea-surface temperatures recorded in 2019. This pattern continues a trend that is being seen year after year. On average, Canada is warming at twice the speed of the rest of the world, with warming in Northern Canada occurring even faster.

Read the full article to see what else is happening.

Background: Diver on the Annapolis. (Credit: Eli Wolpin)

What has been done since 2017?

The table below reports on progress made on recommended actions from the previous 2017 article, where identified. Many of these require ongoing action.

2017 Action Action Taken
Individual and Organization Actions
Help prevent climate change by producing fewer greenhouse gases. Adopt policies and practices within your organization. There is little data available on an individual level. However, incentives to decrease the costs of electric vehicles are available in B.C. izev
Government Action and Policy
Protect any cold water “refugia” within rivers. Strengthen regulations that protect riparian areas along streams to keep warming to a minimum. Squamish River Watershed Society, together with DFO and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw/Squamish Nation, have carried out revegetation in the Squamish estuary area. West Vancouver Streamkeepers, Squamish Streamkeepers, and Bowen Island Fish and Wildlife Club all carry out habitat restoration on salmonid streams. Some funding for some of these groups comes from various government organizations.

What can you do?

A detailed overview of recommended actions relating to climate change is included in The path to zero carbon municipalities. In some cases, no progress was identified on previous recommended actions; these remain listed below. Additional actions marked as NEW also follow.

action-individual Individual and Organization Actions:

    • Eat sustainable seafood to foster healthy and resilient fish populations.
    • NEW Support political action to reduce fossil fuel impacts (use and technology).d (Table 1).

action-governmentGovernment Action and Policy:

    • Incorporate latest climate change hazard assessments into emergency response planning.
    • Implement the Wild Salmon Policy as it recognizes that diversity among salmon populations will be critical in helping salmon populations adapt to future climate conditions.
    • NEW Fund protection and revegetation of riparian areas to create shade along streams, helping to keep warming to a minimum.
    • NEW Fund continual monitoring of ocean temperatures.
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