The study highlights that rising temperatures and extreme drought conditions will impact Canadians in 2023, from water rationing to the country's worst wildfire season on record.
Canada is considered an “abnormally dry” country, and this includes 81% of the country’s farmland used to feed millions of people and animals.
“2023 was a year like we've never had before,” John Pomeroy, head of research at Water Resources and Climate Change, told CTV's Your Morning.
The most severe droughts, according to the agri-food map, are concentrated in the west, in places like British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
Meanwhile, communities east of Calgary and south of Yellowknife faced “extreme” or “exceptional” drought conditions.
“Some areas recorded five degrees above normal consistently throughout 2023,” said Pomeroy, who is also director of the Center for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan.
“Very low snow cover in spring meant a reduction in the flow of rivers emerging from the mountains and a massive shrinkage of our glaciers,” he added.
He added that the lack of humidity also caused Canada's worst wildfire season on record.
Because of rising temperatures and less rainfall, even water flowing from the mountains is slowing down, Pomeroy said.
“This puts us in a precarious position for 2024.”
Experts point out that the lack of snow and rain in Canada is a “characteristic” of the natural weather phenomenon “El Niño,” which is expected to have a greater impact on the country this year.
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