Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Increasingly hotter temperatures on the North Shore

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Extreme climatic phenomena occurred throughout the year, notably with forest fires and periods of intense heat. (Archive photo)

  • Charles-Étienne Drouin (View profile)Charles-Étienne Drouin

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The Côte-Nord is one of the regions of Quebec which has experienced more temperatures higher than normal in 2023, according to Environment Canada.

Over the past 12 months, the North Shore has witnessed the impact of climate change almost every month.

Many people remember the large surges and coastal overflows of December 2022. Establishments, electricity poles and commercial displays were notably destroyed across the region, without forgetting the erosion of the banks which has increased.

It was unheard of in Sept-Îles, with so much wind and damage, recalls the mayor of Sept-Îles, Denis Miousse.

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A traffic light pole fell in Sept-Îles during the storm in the night between December 23 and 24, 2022. (Archive photo)

But the winter was shorter than normal.

On April 12, it was nearly 13 degrees Celsius in Sept-Îles. The previous record for April 12 was 10.5 degrees Celsius in 1977.

A few weeks later, Canadians' eyes were glued in the region, when Sept-Îles was threatened by forest fires. Thousands of people had to be evacuated.

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When we have a City that is forced to evacuate people to protect them, things are really not going well.

A quote from Denis Miousse, mayor of Sept-Îles

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Forest fires threatened eastern Sept-Îles and the Innu community of Mani-utenam last June. (File photo)

The mayor of Port-Cartier and prefect of the MRC of Sept-Rivières, Alain Thibault, considers that the number of forest fires could increase in the region.

We look at the devastation caused by the spruce budworm where the trees are completely dry on one side then the other. It falls on Route 138, on our power lines. This causes electrical outages, says Mr. Thibault. We will look to develop an action plan in 2024 for the MRC of Sept-Rivières [in order to prepare for climate change].

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Citizens of Sept-Îles could see a plume of smoke in the distance last June. (Archive photo)

In July, the Gulf of St. Lawrence reached record temperatures. Surface waters in the Gulf reached 17 degrees Celsius. It was three degrees higher than the normal temperature for this time of year.

This warming brought joy to Nordic bathers.

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This meteorological phenomenon observed on the North Shore extends throughout the Atlantic Ocean, where, in places, temperatures 5 to 10 degrees Celsius higher than normal have been recorded. (Archive photo)

Oceanographer and researcher in marine mammal ecology, Lyne Morissette, has also noted an increase in the number of lobsters near of the North Shore due to warming waters.

These are lobsters that were previously off the American east coast in Maine, explains the researcher. These lobsters are increasingly found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In terms of migration, this could represent good news for fishermen on the North Shore.

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Lyne Morissette, oceanographer and researcher in marine mammal ecology (Archive photo)

However, she considers that warming waters have very different effects for certain marine animals.

All animals have a preferential habitat. When the animal's preferred temperature is 4 degrees Celsius and the temperature rises to 12 degrees Celsius, there are obviously impacts for the animals, specifies the oceanographer.

If the temperature gets really too hot, we call it a lethal temperature. This means that animals will die because they don't have the metabolism to tolerate or live in heat like that.

A quote from Lyne Morissette, oceanographer and researcher in marine mammal ecology

On a global scale, the meteorologist for Environment Canada, Simon Legault, expects 2024 to be the hottest year on record, just like 2023 was.

The problem is that the extreme is getting more and more extreme. What we found extreme before will eventually become normal, warns the meteorologist. We will have to be ready to be resilient. This is what we are putting in place with the various regional, provincial and federal authorities.

Like several other municipalities, Sept-Îles is considering The idea of ​​acquiring more active protection equipment to protect the city should even larger fires ever threaten it.

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