Air temperature

Air temperatures have increased throughout BC by ~1.3⁰C over the past century (from 1900-2013; rates of 0.12 – 0.13⁰C per decade [10,41–43], slightly more than the global average during the same period [36] but less than the rest of Canada [28]. The northern portion of BC has warmed at twice the global average (1.6 to 2.0⁰C per century versus 0.85⁰C per century globally), while the south coast has warmed at a rate of 0.8⁰C per century, roughly the same as the global average [10]. Most of this warming trend has been observed during the winter months (average increase of 2.2⁰C per century), and in the north (3 to 3.8⁰C per century) and south-central (2.6 to 2.9⁰C per century) areas of BC [10,41]. Average daily minimum temperatures have increased the most (increased 2.3⁰C this century) across the province, while average daily maximum temperatures have increased by 0.7⁰C per century [10,11].

Both daily average and daily minimum air temperatures in BC reached record high levels in 2016, and monthly temperatures in the winter of 2016 were more than 5⁰C higher than the baseline period of 1971-2000 [11]. These higher temperatures contribute to other changes in climate, and both negatively as well as positively affect ecosystems and human activities. For instance, increasing air temperatures are associated with decreased heating requirements over the past century in BC, especially in northern BC [10]. Meanwhile, the energy demand for cooling built infrastructure has increased, especially in the southern interior of BC [10]. These changes in energy consumption are directly related to changes in average daily air temperature.

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