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The Climate Atlas of Canada is an interactive tool that combines climate science, mapping and storytelling to bring the global issue of climate change closer to home for Canadians.

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Climate Change
  • Less
  • More
Time Period
  • Recent Past
  • 2021-2050
  • 2051-2080

Climate Change Scenarios

The Climate Atlas displays projections for two possible climate futures. Each assumes a different level of future greenhouse gas emissions, which leads to more or less global warming.

More Climate Change / "High Carbon" Scenario

Emissions continue to increase at current rates.

This is the "business as usual" scenario, and assumes that world greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at current rates through the end of the century. This large amount of greenhouse gas emissions results in more severe global warming. This is also called the "high carbon" future, and is based on the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario.

Less Climate Change / "Low Carbon" Scenario

Greenhouse gas emissions slow, peak mid-century, and then drop rapidly.

This scenario assumes that greenhouse gas emissions increase until about 2050 and then rapidly decline. This decline in emissions leads to less severe global warming than the alternative “business as usual” or high carbon scenario. This is also called the "low carbon" future, and is based on the RCP 4.5 emissions scenario.

Time Periods

The Recent Past (1976-2005)

The "baseline" maps and data describe climate conditions in the recent past. The values were generated by climate models and have been shown to accurately represent observed records (when averaged over time periods such as seasons or years). Importantly, the baseline period does not mean "before global warming": our climate had already warmed quite a bit by the 1970s.

The Immediate Future (2021-2050)

This period of time begins in just a couple of years, and we'll be in the middle of it in about 20 years. Most Canadians will see these changes come to pass.

The Near Future (2051-2080)

This period of time begins in about 30 years, and we'll be in the middle of it in about 45 years. Younger Canadians will likely experience all of these changes, and many older Canadians will at least see them begin.

1. Choose climate information

Select the type of climate information you want to display on the map using the menus at the bottom of the page. You can also choose between future scenarios that lead to “more” or “less” climate change, and display information for either the recent past or one of two future time periods.

2. Click on a Place

Once the map is has loaded its data for the chosen climate information, scenario, and time period, you can display detailed info about places all across Canada.

Click on one of the grid squares or select a city or town to get more detailed climate change information about that specific place. The map sidebar will show detailed numbers and graphs and provide links to even more information.

3. Watch Videos

Select one of the icons to watch a video and discover how people across Canada are learning about and taking action on climate change.

? More help

Follow the "tour" link to get a quick overview of the map controls. For detailed instructions, see the Climate Atlas Guidebook.


Map variable

Choose which climate information to display on the map using these menus.



Use these controls to toggle between scenarios resulting in “more” or “less” climate change based on future greenhouse gas emissions. The map can display three time periods: the recent past (1976-2005), the immediate future (2021-2050) and the near future (2051-2080).

You can click on the icons to get more information about these greenhouse gas scenarios and time periods.



You can customize the map display using these settings. They allow you to select metric or imperial units of measurement, whether or not to display various helpful visual elements, and if you would like to see regional information on the form of provinces/territories or the smaller grid boxes.


Use the "Map videos" menu to show or hide the video markers on the map according to category.


Map information

As you change the various map options (type of data, severity of climate change, and time period), the title bar at the top keeps track of what you've chosen, so you always know what you're looking at.

You can also get more information about what the map is showing. Click on the icons to get detailed explanations about the map you're exploring.


Share the map

You can share the map display on social media or by email. The map will get shared exactly as it looks. If you are zoomed in on a specific location, or if you have a sidebar open showing details about a town or region, that display is what others will see when you share.


Climate Atlas of Canada, version 1 (4 April 2018)
using BCSD climate model data