EDMONTON — Alberta storm chaser Chris Kiernan has hardly had a moment’s rest since the start of the tornado season last month.
“This season has been quite more active,” said Kiernan, who is based out of Beaumont, Alta., about 30 kilometres south of Edmonton.
“In the last two weeks, I have been out for the majority of the days and I have landed some pretty good storms.”
Kiernan said there are usually a lot of “bust days” with no storm activity in a target area, but so far that’s happened just a single time this year.
“To have it only once is something for me,” he said. “Usually, there is a 40 per cent bust rate.”
There have been 17 probable or confirmed tornadoes in the province so far, said Kyle Fougere, meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada. That number surpasses Alberta’s 30-year average of 12.
The agency reported earlier this week that there had been 18 tornadoes, but Fougere said Tuesday one of those had been downgraded.
“When we first get reports of a tornado, we’ll consider them a possible report and then we’ll either upgrade them to a probable tornado or even a confirmed tornado.”
The highest number of tornadoes in Alberta in the last 35 years has been 26 in 1988, Fourgere said.
Overall on the Prairies, there have been 34 twisters this year, he said, with several weeks left in the tornado season.
There have been 13 in Saskatchewan, which has an average of 18 a year. Manitoba, with an average of 10, has had four.
Alberta has been the hardest hit because of wet weather since mid-June, Fougere said.
“When you have a trough of low pressure, you have colder air aloft and you tend to have very showery precipitation with a lot of thunderstorms,” he said. “Because we have had so many days with this thunderstorm activity, we’ve ended up with more tornadoes.”
A high-pressure system with more summerlike temperatures has moved through the area, but more tornadoes could still be on the way, Fougere predicted.
“It’s certainly like we will see more,” he said. “We definitely have that pattern on the horizon.”
Environment and Climate Change Canada rated a tornado that hit the southern Alberta community of Carmangay last week as an EF1, Fougere said, but it could be upgraded.
A tornado is rated EF1 when it packs winds of 138 to 177 km/h and causes moderate damage. The highest rating is EF5.
“We are still investigating some of these tornadoes. A lot of times we do get information that comes in later and we do change some of the ratings.”
He added that the most significant tornado activity to happen this year was in central Alberta and western Saskatchewan between June 28 and 29.
There were nine confirmed tornadoes in the area for those two days and there’s a possibility the weather agency will confirm more.
There’s been activity further north too.
Fougere said there was an EF1 tornado on June 2 in the Fort Smith area of the Northwest Territories — the fourth tornado ever reported in the territory.
“A lot of these storms form over areas that do not have much population density, so we don’t get reports of it,” Fougere said. “It’s estimated that we get many more tornadoes than we actually have reported.”
Kiernan, who helps run the Alberta Storm Chasers Facebook page, said he has seen more interest in the hobby this year because of all the unsettled weather.
He warns that novice storm chasers should know there are risks.
“Every once in a while they’ll land something they weren’t prepared to deal with and don’t have escape routes or anything, so it’s always important to do your research before you head out.”
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
Canada’s Forestry Sector is World-Class. Here’s Proof.
Most Canadians already understand that Canada’s forest industry is world-class. Compared to most other nations with the largest forest industries, we go above and beyond the standard call to reduce the environmental impacts associated with harvesting trees.
Home to about a third of the boreal forest found globally, Canada currently has several sustainable initiatives in place to make sure our forested lands regenerate accordingly. Through continued research and development, these initiatives are ever-evolving to further advance Canada’s global leadership in sustainable forest management practices.
Here are several facts showing just how Canada’s forest sector is world-class, which should be excellent examples for other nations looking to up their game on sustainable forestry practices in the pursuit of a healthier global environment.
12 Facts on Sustainable Forestry Practices in Canada
#1 – Canada has one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world, with just 0.01% of total deforestation in 2018 – much lower than that seen in the Amazon.
#2 – Canada’s boreal wetland habitats are well protected. In Ontario and Quebec, for example, at least 50% of the wetland-rich northern boreal regions are protected by the provincial government.
#3 – Canada’s forestry sector is investing heavily into reforestation efforts, planting roughly 600 million new trees annually.
#4 – Canada’s forestry sector has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions substantially; From 2007 to 2017, the industry dropped energy use by 24% and total fossil GHG emissions by 40%.
#5 – Canadian law requires any disturbed forests by industry must be 100% reclaimed.
#6 – Canada’s forestry sector has committed to help remove 30 megatonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, a substantial amount that will contribute to improving our country’s emissions profile considerably.
#7 – More than 440 million seedlings were planted across Canada in 2018.
#8 – As of 2016, around 200 million of Canada’s 348 million hectares of forests had a long-term forest management plan.
#9 – Today, roughly half of Canada’s forests are certified to third-party standards of sustainable forest management.
#10 – Canada’s boreal forest is largely undisturbed, with 80% of it being relatively untouched and free of industrial disturbance.
#11 – Since 1990, less than 0.5% of Canada’s forested lands have been converted to a non-forest land use.
#12 – Canada will be the first nation in the world to launch a satellite that will specifically monitor wildfires – nothing else.
Sources: Natural Resources Canada, Forest Products Association of Canada
Canada is a Leader in Sustainable Forestry – We Should Be Proud!
The evidence is in, and it’s clear that Canada is a global leader in sustainable forestry practices. Learn more about why this matters by joining our conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram today – hope to see you there!
Ethics prof at one of Canada’s oldest universities on temporary paid leave for stance against forced vaccinations
Huron University in London, Ontario, was incorporated way back in 1863 as one of the founding colleges of Western University. Western is one of the largest universities in Canada.
On the University’s website under academic objectives, Huron University strongly encourages “critical thinking through excellent teaching and research”. But it appears critical thinking may have landed a university ethics professor in a career ending dilemma. Dr. Julie Ponesse has been teaching Ethics at Huron for 20 years. Dr. Ponesse says the University of Western Ontario has barred her from campus and put her on temporary paid leave for taking an ethical stance against the University’s vaccine policy.
Here is the first measure of that policy as highlighted on the University website.
- Mandatory Vaccination on Campus: Huron and its affiliate partners are implementing a vaccination policy which will require proof of vaccination or have an exemption in order to come on campus, including living in residence. Those with an exemption must be tested for COVID-19 twice weekly. There is no testing option for those who choose not to be vaccinated. Those without proof of vaccination or an exemption will not be permitted on campus.
Professor Ponesse says just a few days before the school year began, she was mandated by her employers to take the vaccine immediately. As an Ethics educator she decided it was her job to teach her students it’s ethically wrong to force people to take a vaccine. Instead of lining up for the jab, Dr. Ponesse went to her office and recorded a video which has now been seen across Canada tens of thousands of times. At the end of the video a statement appears indicating Professor Julie Ponesse was dismissed by her employers on September 7.
The video is being shared and commented on by Canadians from coast to coast, in various social media platforms. It’s a fascinating discussion on ethics in a terribly confusing and controversial time, by an experienced ethics professor who has courageously put her ethics ahead of her career.
The video has been taken down by both Facebook and Twitter for statements Ponesse makes about the effectiveness of vaccines. This video was reloaded to Facebook. Supporters of Dr. Ponesse have also posted it to Instagram. We’ve posted two links in case one is taken down yet again.
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