A comprehensive and up-to-date overview of climate change in the Prairie provinces, along with strategies for adapting to the "new normal." The present climate crisis shows no sign of abatement. On the contrary, it is becoming more intense, and there are increasing uncertainties and fears about the outcome of the process of climate transformation. The complexity of this transformation is, to a large extent, a product of the intricate relationships between natural and social systems, both of them complex systems on their own. There is a strong consensus that climate change is the product of human activities that raise the concentrations of greenhouse gases and, consequently, increase global average temperatures. Global warming has led to regional climate changes, which are increasingly impacting the dynamics of local natural and social systems and their interrelationships. These impacts, which are expected to increase, could bring serious risks and damages to ecosystems and livelihoods, disrupting the precarious balance between people and their environment. The natural and social systems of the Canadian Prairies are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The New Normal brings together the work of 24 scholars representing various disciplines, who present their diverse knowledge and expertise about climate change and its impacts in the Prairie Provinces. In addition to providing information about and analysis of the multiple dimensions of the crisis, these scholars seek solutions to the problems and discuss options for taking advantage of new opportunities provided by a warmer climate.
"From what I've read in The New Normal, a book the Canadian Plains Research Centre will be launching on Nov. 16 at the University of Regina, we'd better get used to being soggy. What we've just experienced represents a new trend on the Prairies: record-breaking summertime precipitation with much of it coming in the form of severe storms."
– Paul Dechene, Prairie Dog
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Dr. David Sauchyn is Research Professor at the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC) at the University of Regina. Dave's main research interests are the climate and hydrology of the past millennium in Canada's western interior and how knowledge of the past can inform scenarios of future climate and water supplies. Dave recently was a co-investigator in a five-year multi-disciplinary study of adaptation to climate change in northern Chile and the Canadian plains. He was a lead author of the Canada's National Assessment of Climate Change released in March 2008. Dave has been an invited expert witness on climate change in the Canadian Senate and House of Commons, and at forums hosted by provincial premiers and environment ministers.
Harry Diaz is professor of Sociology and Social Studies and former director of the Canadian Plains Research Center at the University of Regina.