Transcript: On Thin Ice | Mar 24, 2017

(piano music plays)

An aerial view shows pine trees, cloudy mountains, glaciers melting, a beach and skyscrapers.

Tyler says CLIMATE CHANGE IS
ALTERING THE GLOBAL WATER CYCLE
ON A MASSIVE SCALE.
CANADA IS EXTREMELY VULNERABLE
TO A WARMING CLIMATE,
AND THE WAYS IN WHICH MOST
CANADIANS WILL DIRECTLY
EXPERIENCE AND SUFFER FROM
CLIMATE CHANGE
WILL BE DUE TO IMPACTS ON THEIR
LOCAL WATER RESOURCES.

Alex says WHETHER IT S WARMING
LAKES, MORE SEVERE DROUGHTS,
STORMS, FLOODS OR MELTING
SNOWPACK AND GLACIERS,
WE RE ALL LIVING ON THIN ICE.

Against a frozen surface, the title of the episode appears as icy letters: On Thin Ice.

Tyler is in his late twenties with brown hair and wears a green plaid shirt, and is clean-shaven.

Tyler says HEY EVERYONE, I'M TYLER.

A fast clip shows Tyler, jumping into a waterfall, dancing in a crowd and scuba diving.
A caption reads "Tyler."

Tyler says AND THIS IS MY YOUNGER
BROTHER, ALEX.

A fast clip shows Alex water skiing, standing next to a fire, swimming with sharks, and watching a train pass by.
A caption reads "Alex."
Alex is in his late twenties with light brown hair and is not clean-shaven. He wears a black striped hoodie.

Alex says AND TOGETHER WE'RE,
THE WATER BROTHERS.

Then photos show Alex and Tyler as little boys hugging, in wetsuits and Alex with snorkels.

A fast clip shows the brothers walking in a poor area, hiking in ice, canoeing on a lake, then sailing a boat, scuba diving in the ocean, then two fisherman throw their nets out into the water and a group of dolphins play in the ocean.

Alex says WE RE GOING TO TAKE YOU ON AN
ADVENTURE AROUND THE WORLD
TO EXPLORE THE STATE OF
OUR BLUE PLANET.
A PLANET DEFINED BY WATER AND
ITS ABILITY TO SUSTAIN LIFE.

The fast clip continues showing the two brothers in a speedboat, a woman pumping water, and another woman pulling water from a well.

Tyler says SO JOIN US ON OUR JOURNEY
AS WE EXPLORE THE WORLD LOOKING
AT THE MOST IMPORTANT WATER
STORIES OF OUR TIME.

Alex says AND TOGETHER WE WILL LEARN
HOW TO BETTER PROTECT
OUR MOST PRECIOUS RESOURCE.

The title of the show appears on screen. It reads "The Water Brothers."

Tyler says CANADA IS A NATION
DEFINED BY ITS IMMENSE
FRESHWATER RESOURCES.
RIVERS AND STREAMS
COVER THE LANDSCAPE,
HOME TO TWENTY PERCENT OF THE
WORLD S FRESHWATER SUPPLY.

Ducks swim in a lake.

Alex says THESE FRESHWATER
ECOSYSTEMS ARE INCREDIBLY
DIVERSE AND SPREAD OUT
OVER A VAST AREA,
BUT THEY ALL SHARE
ONE CHARACTERISTIC:
AND IN MANY CASES,
COMPLETE ICE COVER.
EVEN RIVERS THAT DO NOT FREEZE
ARE HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON
THEIR FLOW.

An aerial view shows a power plant belching its exhaust into the atmosphere.

Tyler says AS GREENHOUSE GASES
BUILD UP IN THE ATMOSPHERE
AND INCREASE GLOBAL AIR
TEMPERATURES,
WATER IS ALSO WARMING RAPIDLY.
FOR COUNTRIES, SUCH AS CANADA,
WHERE WATER MANAGEMENT
ECOSYSTEMS
OF SNOW AND ICE,
CLIMATE CHANGE WILL PRESENT A
UNIQUE SET OF CHALLENGES.

The caption changes to "Robert Sanford. EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Security. United Nations University." He is in his sixties, clean-shaven with receding blond hair. He wears an orange sport jacket.

Robert says CANADA'S FRESHWATER IS
VERY VULNERABLE
TO CLIMATE CHANGE BECAUSE MUCH
OF THE WATER THAT WE HAVE
WAS LEFT BEHIND AFTER A MUCH
COOLER GLACIAL PERIOD.
AND SO THE WATER THAT WE HAVE
IS VERY MUCH SUBJECT
TO EVAPORATION AND CHANGES
AS A RESULT OF
TEMPERATURE ALTERATIONS IN THE
ATMOSPHERE ITSELF.

The caption changes to "Dr. John Smol. Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change. Queens University."

Sitting in an office, John says THE FACT THAT CANADA
HAS A LARGE NUMBER OF LAKES
SOMETIMES GIVES US THE
IMPRESSION WHERE
WE HAVE SO MUCH THAT WE DON'T
HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT,
BUT THAT'S A DANGEROUS GAME
TO PLAY.

Raindrops fall on a lake.

The caption changes to "Dr. David Schindler. Limnologist. University of Alberta." He sits in an open field. He is in his mid-sixties, with white hair and clean-shaven. He wears a long-sleeved gray zip shirt.

David says WE HAVE A LOT OF
WATER LYING ON THE LANDSCAPE,
ITS RENEWAL RATE IS VERY LOW.
YOU CAN COMPARE IT TO HAVING
A HUGE BANK ACCOUNT,
IN THIS CASE OF WATER,
BUT A VERY LOW INTEREST RATE.
IF YOU WERE TO TAKE A
CANADIAN AVERAGE
IT'S LESS THAN A PERCENT A YEAR.
AND IT'S THAT RENEWAL RATE THAT
IS THE WATER WE
ACTUALLY HAVE TO DEAL WITH
SUSTAINABLY.
IF WE GO BEYOND THAT HALF
PERCENT A YEAR
WE'RE STARTING TO DIG INTO OUR
INTEREST.

John says WE MIGHT BE BLESSED
WITH RELATIVELY
LARGE AMOUNTS OF WATER, A LOT OF
IT ISN'T ACCESSIBLE TO US
BECAUSE IT'S IN PLACES THAT
ARE FARTHER NORTH,
AND WE HAVEN'T BEEN VERY GOOD
STEWARDS OF THE WATER.
I THINK WITH EDUCATION
AND WITH MORE RESEARCH WE'RE
GETTING BETTER AT IT,
BUT WE SHOULD NEVER TAKE THE
WATER FOR GRANTED.

Green muss grows by rocks in a shore.

Alex says THE CANADIAN
ARCTIC IS ONE OF
THE MOST VULNERABLE REGIONS OF
AS SEA ICE DISAPPEARS
AND PERMAFROST MELTS,
NOT ONLY DOES THIS HARM PEOPLE
AND WILDLIFE THERE,
BUT THE SPIN OFF EFFECTS
ARE ALSO BEING FELT
MUCH FURTHER SOUTH.

A polar bear slowly walks in the Artic.

Robert says I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT
TO NOTE THAT WHAT HAPPENS IN
THE ARCTIC DOESN'T STAY IN
THE ARCTIC.
AND WHAT WE RE SEEING IS THE
CHANGING CONDITIONS
IN THE ARCTIC ARE OF COURSE
ADVANCING SOUTHWARD
AND AFFECTING SYSTEMS AT
MID-LATITUDES.
CHANGES IN THE EXTENT
AND DURATION OF ARCTIC SEA ICE
ARE AFFECTING THE BEHAVIOUR OF
THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE
JET STREAM.

Tyler says THE POLAR JET
STREAM IS
A FAST-MOVING BELT OF
WESTERLY WINDS
OF COLD AIR MASSES
DESCENDING FROM THE ARCTIC
AND RISING WARM AIR
FROM THE TROPICS.
HOWEVER, IN RESPONSE TO RAPID
WARMING AND MELTING SEA ICE,
THE JET STREAM CAN BECOME
ABNORMALLY SLOW AND WAVY,
AND THIS IS BELIEVED TO
CONTRIBUTE
TO PROLONGED HEAT AND
COLD WAVES,
TO PLACES
PARTS OF THE WORLD THAT
EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS.

An animation shows a red and orange wavy line crossing North America.

Robert says SO WHAT'S HAPPENING IN
THE ARCTIC IS VERY MUCH
AFFECTING THE HYDROLOGIC CYCLE
IN THE REST OF CANADA,
AND IF YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND
CLIMATE YOU SHOULD
FOLLOW THE WATER.

Standing in the Arctic, Alex says NO REGION OF CANADA WILL
ESCAPE THE EFFECTS OF
CLIMATE CHANGE, AND FOR THE
MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
WHO LIVE IN WESTERN CANADA,
THEIR MOST VULNERABLE WATER
RESOURCES ARE THE SNOWPACKS
AND GLACIERS,
LIKE THIS ONE, THE ATHABASCA,
THAT LIES IN THE HEART OF THE
ROCKY MOUNTAINS.

David says SNOW AND ICE
PLAY A BIG ROLE IN
HYDROLOGICAL SYSTEMS.
PROBABLY THE MOST VULNERABLE
SITES ARE RIGHT
ON THE EASTERN SLOPES OF
THE ROCKIES.
LIKE ALMOST EVERYWHERE ELSE
IN THE WORLD,
WE SEE LESS AND LESS SNOW
STAYING ON THE
GROUND THROUGHOUT THE WINTER,
WE'RE HAVING LESS SNOW FALLING
IN MANY AREAS.

A fast-motion clip shows snow receding and a plant appearing.

He continues IN AREAS WHERE IT HASN'T
DECREASED MUCH,
WE RE GETTING INCREASED MELTING,
WHICH IS WHAT WE'VE
TRADITIONALLY RELIED ON.
EVERYTHING FROM FILLING
RESERVOIRS FOR
IRRIGATION OR HYDROPOWER,
TO REPLENISHING SYSTEMS
FOR AGRICULTURE.

Tyler says THE ATHABASCA
IS ONE OF SIX MAJOR
COLUMBIA ICE FIELD ALONG
THE BRITISH COLUMBIA-ALBERTA
BORDER.

An animated map homes in on Canada. An orange box reads "Athabasca Glacier." Then, it changes to "Columbia Icefield."

Tyler continues LIKE MOST OF CANADA S GLACIERS,
THE ATHABASCA IS DISAPPEARING
AND NOW LOSES AN AVERAGE OF FIVE
METERS OF ICE EACH YEAR.

Alex sits on a rock near a road.

Alex says ONE OF THE MOST
FASCINATING ASPECTS OF
VISITING GLACIERS LIKE
THE ATHABASCA
IS THAT THE PASSAGE OF
TIME IS SO VISIBLE HERE.
BESIDE ME IS A MARKER SHOWING
WHERE THE
TOE OR TERMINUS OF THE GLACIER
STOOD IN 1908,
JUST A LITTLE OVER A CENTURY AGO
THIS ENTIRE VALLEY WOULD HAVE
BEEN COVERED IN ICE,
BUT SINCE THEN THIS GLACIER
HAS RECEDED
BY OVER ONE AND A HALF
KILOMETERS.

Tyler says ATOP THE ATHABASCA,
WE JOINED HYDROLOGIST
DR. JOHN POMEROY,
WHO STUDIES THE IMPACT OF
CLIMATE CHANGE
ON CANADA S WATER RESOURCES
WHO IS HELPING TO
TRACK THE RETREAT OF GLACIERS
FROM THE COLUMBIA ICE FIELD.

A team of experts sets special equipment on a snowy mountain.

The caption changes to "Dr. John Pomeroy. Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change. University of Saskatchewan." Pomeroy is in his middle-fifties, with a short beard and grayish hair. He wears glasses, a gray cap, gloves and blue and beige sport jacket.

Pomeroy and Alex chat in an icefield.

Pomeroy says THE COLUMBIA ICE
FIELD IS ONE OF THESE
REMARKABLE POINTS IN NORTH
AMERICA.
IT'S A TRIPLE POINT CONTINENTAL
DIVIDE.
SO WATER OUT OF THIS ICE FIELD
FLOWS TOWARDS
THE ATHABASCA RIVER THEN DOWN
THE MACKENZIE
TO THE ARCTIC OCEAN.
IT FLOWS DOWN THE
SASKATCHEWAN RIVER,
WHICH THEN FORMS THE NELSON,
AND GOES INTO HUDSON BAY AFTER
CROSSING ALL THREE PRAIRIE
PROVINCES.
AND ON THE BC SIDE, IT FORMS
THE COLUMBIA RIVER,
WHICH DRAINS ACROSS BRITISH
COLUMBIA,
AND THEN THROUGH WASHINGTON
STATE AND OREGON
TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN.
SO YOU GOT THREE OCEANS
FED FROM THIS
AND MILLIONS AND MILLIONS
OF PEOPLE
RELY ON THE RIVERS THAT START
AT THIS POINT.

The animated map of Canada shows the rivers mentioned.

Alex says THIS ICE FIELD FEEDS
SOME OF THE
BIGGEST RIVER SYSTEMS IN
NORTH AMERICA,
BUT AS TEMPERATURES RISE AND
PRECIPITATION PATTERNS SHIFT,
BECOME ONE OF THE
FIRST CASUALTIES OF
CLIMATE CHANGE.

A river runs along a mountain.

Pomeroy says YOU HAVE TO
REMEMBER THAT ALL GLACIERS
ARE DOING IS STORING SNOWFALL
FROM PREVIOUS YEARS.
IT'S THE AMOUNT OF RAIN AND SNOW
THAT'S DRIVING THE HYDROLOGY
AND THE STREAM FLOW AND FILLING
THE LAKES AROUND THE ROCKIES,
AND THAT S BEEN CHANGING
AS WELL.
SO THERE S MORE RAINFALL,
LESS SNOWFALL
OVER TIME AS THE TEMPERATURE S
GOING UP,
AND THAT MEANS THAT THE
SNOWPACKS ARE NOT
LASTING AS LONG INTO THE SUMMER
AS THEY USED TO.

Tyler says WHEN MORE RAIN FALLS
INSTEAD OF SNOW
THE CONSEQUENCES
CAN BE
DISASTROUS.

Pomeroy says IN 2013, OF COURSE
THERE WAS TREMENDOUSLY HEAVY
RAINFALL THAT HIT THE ROCKIES
IN JUNE OF THAT YEAR
WHEN THERE WAS A LATE LINE
SNOWPACK ABOVE BANFF,
AND MANY AREAS HAD RAIN ON SNOW,
BUT IT WAS MAINLY A RAINFALL
DRIVEN FLOOD EVENT
THAT HIT CALGARY ON JUNE
20TH AND 21ST,
AND CAUSED TREMENDOUS
DESTRUCTION.
IT WAS THE MOST DESTRUCTIVE
NATURAL DISASTER
IN CANADIAN HISTORY,
DRIVEN BY INTENSELY HEAVY
RAINFALL IN THE MOUNTAINS.
IN PREVIOUS YEARS, IN JUNE,
A HEAVY PRECIPITATION WOULD COME
AS SNOW IN THE HIGH ROCKIES.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD SKIING
INSTEAD OF A NATURAL DISASTER.

A clip shows wrecked detached houses and sunk trucks in a flood.

Tyler says JOHN SHOWED US LARGE
SECTIONS OF ICE
AND SOOT FROM FOREST FIRES.
IT ABSORBS SOLAR RADIATION
FURTHER SPEEDING UP THE LOSS OF
GLACIERS.

Alex says SO IT'S REALLY ALL
INTERCONNECTED,
YOU HAVE YOUR WARMER DRIER
TEMPERATURES,
WHICH MAKE THE FOREST MORE
SUSCEPTIBLE TO FIRES,
THEN THE FIRES CAN HAVE THIS
SPIN-OFF EFFECT ON GLACIERS.

Pomeroy says YES, AND NOT
JUST FIRES, DUST STORMS.
IN A REALLY DRY YEAR WE'LL GET
MORE DUST STORMS;
AND SOMETIMES THEY CAN BE AT A
GREAT DISTANCE
COMING FROM CHINA, OR FROM THE
WESTERN UNITED STATES,
OR DRY PARTS OF BRITISH
COLUMBIA,
AND THEN COME A GREAT DISTANCE
AND DEPOSIT ON HERE.

Pomeroy uses a pick to break ice gently.

Tyler says RISING TEMPERATURES
HAVE NOT ONLY TRIGGERED
THE LOSS OF GLACIERS ACROSS
THE ROCKIES.

Pomeroy says WE RE GETTING A
BENEFIT FROM
THIS EXTRA WATER COMING OFF,
AND THAT COMES IN LATE SUMMER,
AND THE FASTEST MELT RATES
ARE COMING OFF IN THE HOTTEST,
DRIEST SUMMERS.
SO WHEN WESTERN CANADA IS
HAVING A DROUGHT,
AND THE FOREST FIRES ARE BURNING
AND EVERYTHING S GOING,
THERE S NOT MUCH OTHER SOURCES
OF STREAM FLOW,
THAT'S WHEN THESE GLACIERS ARE
REALLY IMPORTANT.
THE PROBLEM IS WE'VE BECOME USED
TO THAT,
AND SO WE EXPECT EVERY TIME
A DROUGHT COMES IN,
THE GLACIERS WILL KICK IN AND
MAKE IT NOT QUITE
SO BAD FOR OUR RIVERS,
AND WE'VE HAD TREMENDOUS
ADVANTAGES DUE TO THIS AS WELL.
WE HAVEN'T HAD TO BUILD
AS MANY DAMS
AND WATER STORAGE FACILITIES IN
THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES
AND IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AS PARTS
OF WESTERN UNITED STATES HAVE,
BECAUSE WE'VE RELIED ON
GLACIERS AND SNOW
TO BANK OUR WATER INTO
THE SUMMER AND ALL THAT.

An aerial view shows a huge dam surrounding by heavy vegetation.

Alex says CANADA IS THE SECOND
LARGEST PRODUCER OF
HYDROELECTRICITY IN THE WORLD.
AND HYDRO POWER ACCOUNTS FOR
NEARLY SIXTY PERCENT OF ALL
ELECTRICITY PRODUCED IN
THE COUNTRY,
WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT
IMPACT ON ENERGY PRODUCTION AS
WELL AS THE NUMBER
BUILD IN THE FUTURE.

Pomeroy says WITH THE WARMING
THAT HAS OCCURRED ALREADY,
EVEN IF WE STOPPED EMITTING ANY
FURTHER GREENHOUSE GASES
TOMORROW INTO THE ATMOSPHERE,
THIS ATHABASCA GLACIER IS
DOOMED.
THE RATE OF ITS RECESSION
RIGHT NOW, THIS WILL DISAPPEAR,
AS WILL MOST OF THE GLACIERS IN
THE CANADIAN ROCKIES.

Alex says SO HOW MUCH LONGER DOES
IT HAVE LEFT?

Pomeroy says ESTIMATES ABOUT
SIXTY YEARS FOR THIS,
SO AROUND 2050, 2060,
DEPENDING ON HOW THINGS GO,
BUT THOSE ESTIMATES WERE DONE
BEFORE WE HAD THE LAST
THREE SUMMERS OF RECORD MASS
BALANCE,
SO MY PERSONAL ESTIMATE IS THAT
WE COULD SEE THE END
OF THE LOWER PART OF
THE ATHABASCA
WITHIN MY LIFETIME EVEN,
IN THE 2030'S, 2040'S.

Robert says BETWEEN 1920 AND 2005,
WE MAY HAVE LOST AS MANY AS
THREE HUNDRED GLACIERS
IN THE CANADIAN ROCKY MOUNTAIN
NATIONAL PARKS ALONE.
AND WHAT WE SEE FROM THIS IS
THAT IF THE TREND CONTINUES,
WE COULD LOSE AS MUCH AS NINETY
PERCENT OF OUR
GLACIAL ICE BY THE END OF THIS
CENTURY.
BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE
LEARNED FROM THIS IS
THAT THE WARMING THAT IS CAUSING
THE ICE TO DISAPPEAR IS
ALSO AFFECTING SNOWPACK
AND SNOW COVER,
AND THAT CHANGES WATER SECURITY.
FIFTY YEARS FROM NOW,
THE CANADIAN WEST MAY VERY WELL
BE A VERY DIFFERENT PLACE.

Fast clips show a city sitting in a valley and a crops field.

Tyler says WHETHER IT S IN THE WEST
OR ANY OTHER PART OF CANADA,
WHEN RAIN, SNOWFALL AND WHEATHER
PATTERNS CHANGE,
NO OTHER GROUP OF PEOPLE
FEELS THIS EFFECTS MORE
THAN FARMERS.

The caption changes to "Christine Dendy. Cherry Farmer. Kelowna, BC." Christine is in her mid-sixties with white hair. She wears a pink cardigan over a floral blouse.

Christine says CLIMATE CHANGE IS A
BIG CONCERN,
WATER IS OUR NUMBER ONE
REQUIREMENT FOR PRODUCING
WHAT WE HAVE, AND WE RE
CERTAINLY NOTICING
MORE VOLATILITY IN THE WEATHER
IN RECENT YEARS.
OUR WATER SUPPLY IS RELIANT ON
THE SNOWPACK EACH YEAR,
SO IF WE DON'T GET A REGULAR
SNOWPACK,
WE DON'T GET THE WATER.
WHAT FALLS IN THE SUMMER
WOULDN'T BEGIN TO
BE ADEQUATE FOR THE WATER
REQUIREMENTS HERE.
IF WE HAVE A LONGER
IRRIGATION SEASON
AND HOTTER SUMMERS THAT MEANS WE
NEED MORE WATER,
AND IF THERE IS LESS WATER TO GO
AROUND IT'S A REAL DILEMMA.

People harvest cherries in silver buckets.

Alex and Tyler talk to the screen as they walk in a pier.

Alex says REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS
EMISSIONS IS OUR BEST HOPE
FOR PROTECTING WATER FROM THE
EFFECTS OF RAPID CLIMATE CHANGE,
BUT WE MUST ALSO CLOSELY STUDY
AND MONITOR HOW WATER RESOURCES
ARE ALREADY CHANGING TO PREPARE
OURSELVES FOR THE FUTURE.

Tyler says THAT'S WHY WE'VE
COME HERE
TO THE EXPERIMENTAL LAKES AREA,
IN NORTHERN ONTARIO,
TO SEE HOW SCIENTISTS ARE TRYING
TO BETTER UNDERSTAND HOW LAKES
WILL BE TRANSFORMED BY
A WARMING CLIMATE.

The caption changes to "Matthew McCandless. Executive Director. IISD Experimental Lakes Area." Matthew is in his mid-forties, with receding blond hair and clean-shaven. He wears a light plaid shirt.

Matthew says THE EXPERIMENTAL
LAKES AREA OR ELA IS REALLY
THE WORLD S FOREMOST FRESHWATER
ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH FACILITY.
THIS PLACE FIRST OPENED IN 1968
AND HAS BEEN CONDUCTING
RESEARCH,
EVER SINCE THEN AT THE
ECOSYSTEM SCALE,
LOOKING AT HUMAN IMPACTS ON
AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTS.

Three men and a woman sit in a boat. As the woman carries fish into a net, one of the men films the event.

Alex says MANAGED BY THE
INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT,
WITH FUNDING SUPPORT FROM THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
MANITOBA AND ONTARIO,
UP THE ELA
ARE CUT OFF FROM OUTSIDE
HUMAN ACTIVITY
ALLOWING SCIENTISTS TO STUDY
LAKES WITHOUT INFLUENCE
FROM INDUSTRY OR FISHING
PRESSURE.
A TESTING BED
NOT USED FOR ANY TESTING
CAN BE COMPARED TO THESE
PRISTINE LAKES.

The animated map shows small red areas that read "Testing lakes" and small purple areas that read "Control lakes."

The caption changes to "Michael Paterson. Chief Research Scientist. IISD Experimental Lakes Area." Michael is in his early fifties, clean-shaven with short gray hair. He wears black-rimmed glasses and a checked white shirt.

Michael says IT'S THE ONLY
PLACE IN THE WORLD
WHERE WE CAN DO THESE WHOLE
ECOSYSTEM EXPERIMENTS,
WHERE WE CAN MANIPULATE ONE
FACTOR AT A TIME,
AT THE APPROPRIATE SCALE,
THE ECOSYSTEM SCALE,
TO GENERATE A BETTER
UNDERSTANDING
OF WHAT WE RE DOING TO LAKES
AND TO WATERWAYS IN GENERAL.

A team of scientists lays a net in a river.

Tyler says BEEN CLOSELY MONITORED
FOR SO MANY DECADES,
THEY ARE NOW PROVIDING
SCIENTISTS WITH CLEAR EVIDENCE
OF HOW LAKES HAVE BEEN IMPACTED
AS AIR TEMPERATURES
HAVE INCREASED BY NEARLY ONE
DEGREE CELSIUS
SINCE THE FACILITY WAS
ESTABLISHED.

Michael says ONE OF THE BIG
CHANGES THAT WE HAVE OBSERVED
FOR SURE IS A LENGTHENING OF THE
ICE-FREE SEASON.
SO, IT'S FREEZING UP LATER,
AND THAWING EARLIER.

Matthew says SINCE THE
1960'S, LAKES LIKE THIS,
ON AVERAGE SEE NOW TWO WEEKS
A YEAR
LESS ICE COVER THEN THEY
USED TO.

Alex says AS LAKES WARM, THE IMPACTS
GO FAR BEYOND REDUCED ICE COVER,
EVERY LEVEL OF THE FOOD CHAIN
FEELS THESE EFFECTS,
AND IF WE WANT TO HELP
SCIENTISTS BETTER UNDERSTAND
EXACTLY HOW AQUATIC LIFE IS
COPING WITH THESE CHANGES,
WE HAVE TO GO FISHING.

Tyler says AT EXPERIMENTAL
LAKE 224,
WE MET BIOLOGIST, LEE HRENCHUK,
OF LAKE TROUT
TO SEE HOW THEIR BEHAVIOUR
AND ECOLOGY

Alex and Lee travel in a boat.

Alex says WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN
DOING THINGS
LIKE CATCHING LAKE TROUT
IN THIS LAKE?

The caption changes to "Lee Hrenchuk. Biologist. ISSD Experimental Lakes Area." Lee is in her mid-thirties with brown hair tied-up. She wears sunglasses, a long-sleeved beige shirt and a life jacket.

Lee says YEAH, SO, WE'RE FISHING FOR
LAKE TROUT TODAY,
NOT ALL OF OUR DAYS LOOK LIKE
THIS, SUNNY FISHING ON A BOAT.

Alex says YEAH, IT'S BRUTAL WORKING
UP HERE.

Lee says IT S TERRIBLE, YEAH.
(LAUGHS)

Lee says OUR ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO
DO SURGERIES TO IMPLANT TRACKING
TAGS IN LAKE TROUT,
SO THAT WE CAN SEE WHERE THEY RE
HANGING OUT IN THE LAKE.
WE CAN TRACK WHERE THEY ARE BOTH
DEPTH-WISE AND SPATIALLY.
TROUT ARE A VERY COMMON FISH
ACROSS CANADA,
THEY RE IN THE BOREAL FOREST,
WHICH IS ALL ACROSS CANADA,
AND THEY RE ALSO IN THE ARCTIC,
THEY RE REALLY A COLD WATER
LOVING FISH,
AND SO WE RE INTERESTED IN
LOOKING AT
HOW THINGS MAY CHANGE
FOR THEM
OVER TIME WITH THINGS LIKE
CLIMATE WARMING.
THEY RE DEFINITELY SOME OF
THE FIRST SPECIES
YOU MIGHT START TO SEE
AFFECTS IN.
STUDYING LAKE TROUT MAY GIVE US
SOME INSIGHT TOO
INTO OTHER COLD-WATER SPECIES.

They get out of the boat. Alex carries a trout in a fishing net.

Tyler says ONCE ON SHORE,
THE FISH ARE WEIGHED
AND MEASURED TO TRACK THEIR
GROWTH.

Lee says ALRIGHT, SO ALEX, YOU CAN
ACTUALLY GO ON THE FAR SIDE.
SO, YOU CAN SEE IT'S JUST
RUNNING ACROSS THE GILLS THERE.

Alex says AND THIS HAS AN
ANAESTHETIC IN IT?

Lee says IT HAS AN ANAESTHETIC
AND IT'S JUST LAKE WATER,
SO IT'S GOT THE OXYGEN IN IT AS
WELL SO IT KEEPS THEM
SORT OF SEDATED, BUT NOT GOING
UNDER ANY FURTHER.
HE'S AT A REALLY GOOD STATE
RIGHT NOW.
AND SO I'M GOING TO DO THE
INCISION BETWEEN HERE AND HERE,
IF YOU WANT TO SORT OF KEEP
WATER GOING OVER HIM
HERE AND HERE, JUST A LITTLE
BIT.
JUST AWAY FROM THE INCISION.
SUNNY DAY LIKE TODAY HE CAN
REALLY DRY OUT.
SO, THE TAG JUST SLIDES
IN THE BELLY.

Alex says AND WHAT KIND OF TAG
IS THAT?

Lee says SO THIS IS AN ACOUSTIC TAG,
SO IT WILL SEND OUT AN ACOUSTIC
SIGNAL,
WHICH IS JUST SOUND BASICALLY.

Alex says SO THERE’S LIKE RECEIVERS
IN THE LAKE
THAT ARE CONSTANTLY LISTENING
FOR THIS TAG.

Lee sews up the wound in the fish.

Lee says EXACTLY, YEAH.
ALL RIGHT SO YOU CAN SEE,
WE GOT THREE SUTURES THERE,
SO HE'S ALL SEWN UP,
READY TO GO.
HAS WORN OFF,
THE FISH ARE RELEASED BACK INTO
THE LAKE WHERE ACOUSTIC
TRANSMITTERS WILL TRACK THEIR
MOVEMENTS FOR THE NEXT YEAR.

Now, Alex and Lee stand in a laboratory.

Alex says OKAY LEE, WE'VE SEEN HOW
THE TAGGING PROCESS WORKS,
BUT I GUESS THE MOST INTERESTING
STUFF TO FIND OUT IS
WHAT YOU DO WITH ALL THE DATA,
AND WHAT IT'S SHOWING SO FAR.

Lee says YEAH, SO WE ENDED UP,
AS YOU CAN IMAGINE,
WITH SORT OF MOUNTAINS OF DATA.
THESE TAGS PING EVERY FIVE
MINUTES,
SO THE TAG SENDS OUT A SIGNAL,
AND IT'S DETECTED BY THE
RECEIVERS
THAT WE HAVE IN THE LAKE,
AND WE HAVE,
YOU KNOW, UP TO FIFTEEN OR SO
TAGS IN THE LAKE,
AND WE RE RECORDING ALL YEAR.
SO YOU CAN IMAGINE THE SORT OF
AMOUNT OF DATA THAT WE GET.

An animation shows a lake warming as fish swim.

Tyler says DECADES OF TRACKING
IS REVEALING
AMOUNT OF HABITAT
AS LAKE ICE MELTS EARLIER
EACH SEASON
AND SURFACE WATERS WARM,
LAKE TROUT ARE BEING PUSHED
FURTHER DOWN IN LAKES.
THE WARMER WATERS AND INCREASED
LIGHT PENETRATION
ALSO HELP MORE ALGAE
PROLIFERATE.
AS THE ALGAE DIES
AND DECOMPOSES,
MORE OXYGEN IS BEING
DEPLETED FROM
OUT OF LARGE AREAS,
MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO
CATCH PREY AND GROW.

Lee says WE'RE SEEING DECLINES IN
THEIR SIZE AT AGE,
SO BASICALLY, HOW BIG IS A
TEN-YEAR-OLD FISH?
AND A WHILE AGO,
IT WOULD BE THIS SIZE,
AND NOW IT S GOTTEN A
LITTLE BIT SMALLER.
AND SMALLER IN A CONSISTENT WAY,
SO THAT WE RE STARTING TO SEE
THE FISH
PUT LESS ENERGY INTO GROWTH.
IT'S TAKING THEM MORE ENERGY
JUST TO DO THEIR BASICS,
TO SURVIVE AND TO REPRODUCE.

Alex says SO SOME OF THESE CHANGES,
IT S NOT SOME FUTURE PREDICTION,
IT S ALREADY STARTING TO HAPPEN.

Lee says IT'S DEFINITELY STARTING TO
HAPPEN.
WE'RE STARTING TO SEE THESE
SHIFTS IN TEMPERATURE,
AND THERE S THINGS THAT
FLUCTUATE,
BUT IT'S DEFINITELY SHOWING
A TREND.

At sunset, men enjoy fishing in a calm lake.

Alex says RECREATIONAL FISHING
GENERATES OVER SEVEN
AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS IN
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN CANADA
AND SOME OF THE MOST SOUGHT
AFTER FISH SPECIES,
SUCH AS TROUT, WALLEYE,
AND SALMON,
ARE ALL HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON
COLD WATER
TO EFFECTIVELY HUNT AND SPAWN.
BUT FOR MANY CANADIANS,
FISHING IS MORE THAN
JUST A HOBBY.

The caption changes to "Dawn Machin. Fisheries Biologist. Okanagan Nation Alliance." Dawn is in her thirties with long straight brown hair. She wears a pink T-shirt.

Standing by a stream, Dawn says LAST YEAR THERE WERE FIVE
HUNDRED THOUSAND FISH
AT THE MOUTH OF THE
COLUMBIA RIVER,
AND WE COULD HAVE HAD A HUGE
FISHERY LAST YEAR.
OUR PEOPLE WERE GEARED UP
TO GET OUT THERE
AND FILL THEIR FREEZERS,
AND DRY SALMON,
AND WE HAD LESS THAN TEN
THOUSAND FISH
COME BACK TO THE SPAWNING
GROUNDS
BECAUSE OF THE IMPACTS OF
TEMPERATURE.
THEY DIED BECAUSE OF STRESS
AND DISEASE
BEFORE THEY EVEN MADE IT UP TO
THE OKANAGAN RIVER.
IT'S A HUGE FOOD SECURITY ISSUE,
WHEN WE CAN'T RELY ON A RESOURCE
TO COME BACK
WHEN WE'VE PUT ALL THIS WORK
AND EFFORT INTO PLANNING
AND RESTORING THAT FISHERY,
AND SOMETHING LIKE THAT IT S
JUST DEVASTATING.

A bear hunts fish in the water.

Tyler says WHILE THE LONG-TERM
EFFECTS ON FISH
ARE DIFFICULT TO PREDICT,
ELA ARE CERTAINLY
NOT UNIQUE TO THAT AREA.

The caption changes to "Dr. Sapna Sharma. Biologist. York University." Sapna is in her late twenties with black hair. She wears a pink scarf over a black sweater.

In an institute, Sapna says WE STUDIED TWO
HUNDRED AND THIRTY-FIVE LAKES
AROUND THE WORLD, AND THESE
REPRESENT MORE THAN
FIFTY PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S
FRESHWATER SUPPLY
AND WHAT WE FOUND WAS THAT
NINETY PERCENT OF
THE WORLD S LAKES ARE WARMING.
SEVERAL REGIONS WARMED FASTER
THAN OTHER REGIONS,
SO FOR EXAMPLE, THE GREAT LAKES
REGION HAS BEEN WARMING
AT MUCH HIGHER RATES THAN THE
REST OF THE WORLD.
SO TWO TO THREE TIMES FASTER
THAN THE GLOBAL AVERAGE.
LAKE SUPERIOR IS THE SECOND
FASTEST WARMING LAKE
IN THE WORLD, WHICH YOU MIGHT
NOT EXPECT,
BECAUSE IT'S SUCH A BIG LAKE.
WE THOUGHT THE SMALLER LAKES
WOULD WARM THE FASTEST,
BUT SOME OF THESE REALLY LARGE
LAKES ARE WARMING
AT REALLY RAPID RATES AS WELL.

Alex says ONE MAJOR REASON
WHY CANADIAN LAKES
LONGER EXPOSURE
OF REDUCED ICE COVERAGE,
WHICH IS ALSO SPEEDING UP
EVAPORATION
IN SOME AREAS.

David says AS WE HAVE
INCREASINGLY HOT SUMMERS,
WE CAN EXPECT LONGER AND MORE
INTENSE ALGAL BLOOMS.

Tyler says AS HEAVY BURSTS OF
RAINFALL BECOME MORE COMMON,
MORE PHOSPHORUS WILL WASH INTO
LAKES FROM FARMLAND
AND MUNICIPAL SEWAGE SYSTEMS,
LEADING TO MORE ALGAE BLOOMS
THAT CAN BE TOXIC TO HUMANS,
PETS AND WILDLIFE.

An animation shows arrows running down the sewage system of a city into a lake.

David says SO, THE PERIOD WHEN
WE RE NOT ALLOWED TO
SWIM IN LAKES,
WHEN WE HAVE TO LOOK FOR
ALTERNATIVE SOURCES OF
WATER BECAUSE THE CYANOBACTERIAL
TOXINS,
THAT ARE A HEALTH HAZARD,
CANNOT BE FILTERED OUT WITH
THE ALGAE,
SO WATER QUALITY IS CERTAINLY
DIRECTLY LINKED
TO CLIMATE CHANGE.

(soft music plays)

Alex says PROTECTING FRESHWATER FROM
THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
WILL NOT BE AN EASY TASK.
CANADA CANNOT DO IT ALONE,
HOWEVER BECAUSE CANADIANS ARE
SOME OF THE BIGGEST
PER CAPITA CARBON EMITTERS
IN THE WORLD,
WE HAVE AN IMPORTANT
RESPONSIBILITY TO BECOME
GLOBAL LEADERS IN REDUCING
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS,
PRICING CARBON POLLUTION,
AND DEVELOPING CLEAN ENERGY
TECHNOLOGY.

Fast clips show endless solar panels in a field and wind turbines.

David says WE CAN'T SIT
HERE AND WAIT FOR INDIA OR CHINA
TO PRODUCE THE MIRACULOUS
TECHNOLOGY,
WHICH WE WILL THEN FOLLOW TO
REDUCE OUR GREENHOUSE GASES.
IF WE DO,
WE RE GOING TO BE AT A HUGE
ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGE.
WHY NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR
TECHNICAL ABILITY AND LEARN
TO PRODUCE SOMETHING THAT IS
VALUABLE TO OTHER COUNTRIES.
ALL OF THE FOCUS OF OUR
PROVINCIAL
AND FEDERAL POLITICIANS HAS BEEN
VERY SHORT TERM.
SO COME ON GUYS, GIVE US THE
STRAIGHT GOODS.
ARE WE GOING TO CUT
GREENHOUSE GASES,
OR ARE WE GOING TO CONTINUE
TO DEVELOP LNG PLANTS
AND THE OIL SANDS,
AND BUILD PIPELINES THAT
TEN YEARS FROM NOW WILL PROBABLY
NOTHING TO CARRY IN THEM.
WE DON'T NEED A TRANSITION PHASE
AND WE DON'T HAVE TIME FOR ONE.
WE'VE GOT TO MAKE THE MOVES NOW.

Male workers build a huge pipeline.

Robert says CANADIANS IDENTITY HAS
BEEN SHAPED BY WATER.
THERE ARE FEW CANADIANS THAT
DON'T HAVE A WATER STORY
IN THEIR LIVES THAT MEANS A
GREAT DEAL TO THEM
IN TERMS OF A TURNING POINT
AND HOW THEY LIVED,
OR WHO THEY BECAME.
WE RE VERY LUCKY THAT WAY,
AND MANY FROM OTHER PLACES
COME HERE AND MARVEL AT JUST HOW
MUCH WE HAVE,
AND HOW IT AFFECTS US.
IT IS PART OF THE CANADIAN
AESTHETIC,
AND WE SHOULD TREASURE
THAT AESTHETIC,
WE SHOULD HONOUR THAT
RELATIONSHIP
AND TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF IT IN
THE FUTURE,
BECAUSE IT WILL DEFINE US AGAIN
IN A WORLD WHERE WATER IS
BECOMING MORE PRECIOUS.

Tyler and Alex stand by a lake.

Tyler says THE WAYS IN WHICH WE WILL
ALL EXPERIENCE
AND SUFFER FROM CLIMATE CHANGE
IS THROUGH ITS EFFECT
ON OUR LOCAL WATER RESOURCES,
CANADA IS NO DIFFERENT,
AND THE WARNING SIGNS ARE
EVERYWHERE.

Alex says NOT ONLY MUST WE CONTINUE
TO WORK WITH SCIENTISTS,
AND INVEST IN CLIMATE RESEARCH,
CLEAN ENERGY, AND DEVELOP STRONG
ADAPTATION STRATEGIES,
BUT WE MUST ALSO LEARN TO VALUE
AND MANAGE WATER BETTER,
ON FARMS, IN BUSINESSES, AND IN
OUR CITIES,
WITH THE NEEDS OF NATURE
ALWAYS IN MIND.

Tyler says CLIMATE CHANGE IS MORE
THAN JUST A THREAT TO OUR
ECONOMY AND OUR ENVIRONMENT,
IT'S ALSO A THREAT TO OUR
CULTURE AND OUR ABILITY TO ENJOY
THE PRECIOUS NATURAL GIFTS
OF ABUNDANT AND HEALTHY
FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS
THAT WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE
AND SHOULD PROTECT AT ALL COSTS.

A slate shows two animated divers going down.

Alex says JOIN US AND DIVE
DEEPER INTO THE EPISODES
AT THE WATERBROTHERS.CA.

(the end music plays)

The end credits roll.

Executive Producer, Jonathan Barker.

Host, Director and Co-Producer, Tyler Mifflin.

Host, Writer and Co-Director, Alex Mifflin.

An SK Films Production.

Copyright 2017, Water Brothers Inc.

Watch: On Thin Ice