Human activities release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases are warming the planet and changing the climate in Nova Scotia and globally. Recent climate projections and research illustrate how climate change will impact Nova Scotia in the coming decades.
Nova Scotia’s average annual temperature is projected to increase by 2.6°C by mid-century and 4.5°C by the end of the century (in a scenario with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions). More frequent extreme heat will make days and nights more uncomfortable, drought and wildfire more likely, and the characteristics of winter will change as average temperatures rise above freezing.
Changing precipitation patterns
Projected warmer temperatures result in less snowfall, more rain and increasingly intense rainfall events. Total annual precipitation is likely to increase by around 10% by the end of the century. Such an increase in rainfall would contribute to higher flood risk, increased erosion and humidity (when water evaporates in warmer temperatures).
More frequent and intense storms
Warming oceans enable tropical storms to move further north without losing strength. When these storms make landfall, they can contribute to highspeed winds and powerful storm surges. In a changing climate, Nova Scotia is likely to experience more frequent and intense storms.
Rising sea levels
Research projects an increase of up to 1 metre in relative sea level in Nova Scotia by 2100. Higher sea levels have the potential to damage coastal communities and infrastructure, infiltrate freshwater supplies, and threaten sensitive coastal species and ecosystems. Storm surge and high tides will be more impactful as sea levels rise.
Sea surface and deep-water temperatures are increasing, ocean waters are becoming more acidic, dissolved oxygen levels are decreasing, and currents could weaken because of the changing physics and chemistry of ocean waters. These changing conditions could make it harder for ocean life and coastal ecosystems to thrive.