Transcript: Climate Watch Shorts: Measuring changes in Lake Simcoe | Feb 01, 2017

(music plays)

Against a gray sky, an animated black globe spins. The title of the programs reads "TVO Climate Watch Shorts."

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Nam Kiwanuka. Climate Watch Shorts host."

Nam stands in an open field with dry grass. She’s in her early forties with curly brown hair. She’s wearing glasses and a faux-fur hood black coat.

She says WELCOME TO CLIMATE
WATCH SHORTS WHERE
WE EXAMINE THE LOCAL
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
LAKE SIMCOE IS ONE
OF THE PROVINCE'S
LARGEST LAKES, AND CLIMATE
CHANGE IS PROFOUNDLY
AFFECTING ITS WATERS.
SCIENTISTS ARE
SEEING CHANGES FROM
INCREASED SALT LEVELS TO
WARMER WATER TEMPERATURES.
WE WENT OUT ON THE LAKE TO
SEE THE CHANGES FIRST HAND.

A boat crosses a lake.

The caption changes to "Mike Walters. Chief administrative officer. Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority."

Mike sits in an office. He is in his mid-fifties, clean-shaven with gray hair. He wears a gray suit, white shirt and striped tie.

Mike says WE'RE INVOLVED IN
CLIMATE CHANGE FOR
A COUPLE OF REASONS.
THE FIRST IS IT'S
A VERY REAL THREAT
TO WATERSHED RESIDENTS
AND TO OUR WAY OF LIFE.
LAKE SIMCOE'S A REALLY
IMPORTANT WATERSHED.

An old wooden pier juts out into the lake.

Mike continues WE HAVE PROBABLY
THE NEXT LARGEST LAKE
IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
TO THE GREAT LAKES.
IT'S A GREAT SOURCE
OF RECREATION.
IT GENERATES AROUND 200
MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR ANNUALLY.
IT'S A GREAT
NATURAL RESOURCE.
IT'S USED FOR DRINKING
WATER FOR 9 COMMUNITIES.
AND IT'S USED FOR
WASTE ASSIMILATION.
WE HAVE A GROUP OF
SCIENTISTS WHO ARE OUT
COLLECTING INFORMATION
TRYING TO DOCUMENT THE
CHANGE ASSOCIATED WITH
CLIMATE AND WHAT WE
CAN EXPECT IN
THE FUTURE.
SO AS WE GO FORWARD WITH
RESOURCE MANAGEMENT DECISIONS
WE'LL BE MAKING THE BEST
DECISIONS POSSIBLE
TO EFFECT THE HEALTH AND
WELLBEING OF THE WATERSHED.

The caption changes to "David Lembcke. Manager, environmental science and monitoring. Lake Simcoe Region Conservative Authority." He is in his early fifties, with a short beard and short hair. He wears glasses and a black shirt.

David says IT'S HARD
TO CONTEXTUALIZE IN YOUR
EVERYDAY LIFE.
WE'RE HEARING THAT WE'RE
GOING TO GET A ONE DEGREE RISE,
WE MAY SEE ARCTIC SEA ICE
MELTING AT A GREATER RATE.
SO IT'S HARD TO UNDERSTAND
HOW THAT'S GOING TO AFFECT US.
BUT I MEAN REALLY THE
CLIMATE IS THE DRIVER
OF ALL OF OUR SYSTEMS
AND EVERYTHING SORT OF
HAS THAT FINE BALANCE.
SO EVEN HERE AS WE
START TO MOVE THOSE
THINGS AROUND, SHIFT
THOSE THINGS, PUT
DIFFERENT PRESSURES
FROM THE CLIMATE
WE'RE GOING TO SEE
THOSE IMPACTS.

The caption changes to "Brian Ginn. Limnologist. Lake Simcoe Region Conservative Authority."

Brian looks into a microscope. He is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and bald. He wears a dark blue polo-shirt.

Brian says WITH CLIMATE CHANGE WE'RE
SEEING LAKE TEMPERATURES
GET WARMER AND WARMER,
SO WE'RE HAVING AN
EXTENDED WARM WATER
SEASON AS WELL.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IN
THE SPRINGTIME AFTER THE
ICE COMES OFF THE LAKE,
THE LAKE WATER SLOWLY WARMS
AND SEPARATES OUT
INTO TWO LAYERS.
SO THERE'S A WARM
WATER LAYER ON TOP,
AND THEN THERE'S THIS
COLD WATER LAYER
ON THE BOTTOM WHERE
THESE COLD WATER FISH
WOULD HIDE OUT.

Now, Brian stands in a boat. He puts a special device on the water to take measurements.

Brian continues I THINK THE MAXIMUM
TEMPERATURE WE'VE RECORDED
THIS YEAR WAS 27 DEGREES
CELSIUS IN THE WATER COLUMN.
AND SINCE MONITORING
BEGAN IN THE 1980s
WITH THE MINISTRY OF THE
ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE
CHANGE THEY'VE RECORDED
A LENGTHENING OF THIS
WARM WATER PERIOD
BY ABOUT 28 DAYS.
SO ALMOST AN ENTIRE MONTH
LONGER THAN WHAT IT USED TO BE
LIKE BACK IN THE
HISTORIC PAST.

David says I GUESS THE MOST OBVIOUS
REASON LAKE SIMCOE WORKS
FOR THE OTHER GREAT LAKES
IS IT SORT OF TRAILS
BEHIND IN SOME THINGS,
AHEAD IN OTHERS,
BUT WHAT HITS THE GREAT
LAKES, BECAUSE THEY
ARE CONNECTED, WILL
HIT SIMCOE AS WELL.
BUT THE GREAT LAKES
ARE VERY, VERY LARGE
BODIES OF WATER,
SO TO CONDUCT A STUDY
OR TO CONDUCT MONITORING
ON THE LAKE, VERY DIFFICULT
NOT ONLY DUE TO SIZE.
I MEAN WE ALSO SHARE
A JURISDICTION,
SO THAT BECOMES AN
INTERNATIONAL EFFORT.
WHAT YOU'VE SORT OF SEEN
FROM SOME OF THE WORK
WE CAN DO HERE IS
IF WE HAVE A SPECIFIC
QUESTION LIKE THE INVASIVE
MUSSELS, WE CAN ACTUALLY
GO OUT AND SURVEY
THE ENTIRE LAKE.
WE CAN COME UP WITH
ENTIRE POPULATIONS
WHICH YOU CAN'T REALLY
DO WITH THAT SAME
RESOLUTION ON
A GREAT LAKE.

An aerial view of Toronto traffic appears.

Brian says THE LAKE SIMCOE WATERSHED IS
LOCATED REALLY CLOSE TO TORONTO.
WE'RE FEELING THE AFFECTS
OF INCREASED URBANIZATION
AND INCREASED URBAN AREAS AS
WELL ACROSS THE WATERSHED.
WE HAVE A LOT MORE PAVED
SERVICES... THINGS LIKE
ROADS, PARKING LOTS,
ALSO PEOPLE PAVE THEIR
DRIVEWAYS AND SO ON.
CONSEQUENCE OF THIS IS
THAT ROAD SALT DISSOLVES
VERY READILY.
WHAT HAPPENS IS WHEN
A RAIN HITS IT OR
WHEN THERE'S SNOW MELT
AND SO ON, ALL THE SALT
RUNS OFF INTO THE CREEKS
AND TRIBUTARIES, AND
EVENTUALLY MAKES ITS
WAY TO THE LAKE.
SO WHAT WE'RE STARTING TO
SEE IS THE AMOUNT OF SALT
CONTENT IN LAKE
SIMCOE IS INCREASING.
IN LAKE SIMCOE IT'S
INCREASED FROM ABOUT
10 MILLIGRAMS PER
LITRE IN THE 1970s,
AND IT'S UP AROUND 46-47
MILLIGRAMS PER LITRE.
WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE
SALT CONTENT, ALL THE
ORGANISMS WHICH LIVE
IN LAKE SIMCOE,
SO THE FISH, THE BUGS
AND SO ON, ARE ALL ADAPTED
TO LIVE IN FRESH WATER.
BECAUSE OF THIS THERE
ARE GUIDELINES FOR
SALT CONCENTRATIONS
IN THE WATER.
AND ONE OF THE KEY
ONES WE LOOKED AT IS
120 MILLIGRAMS PER LITRE.
AND WHEN WE HIT THIS
CRITICAL THRESHOLD
THIS IS WHEN WE START
SEEING FRESHWATER
ORGANISMS DIE OFF.

David says IF WE CAN BUILD THAT
RESILIENCY IN THE SYSTEM
THEN WE CAN HELP IT ADAPT.
SO THAT WHEN THE COMING
CHANGES HIT US, WE KNOW
AND WE CAN BUILD THAT
ABILITY TO MINIMIZE OR
MITIGATE SOME OF THOSE
CHALLENGES OR
THOSE IMPACTS.

Mike says WHAT WE DO OVER THE
NEXT HUNDRED YEARS IS
GOING TO BE VERY,
VERY IMPORTANT TO
HOW WE DEVELOP WITHIN THE
WATERSHED AND HOW WE LIVE.

(music plays)

A final slate reads "TVO.org/climatewatch."

Watch: Climate Watch Shorts: Measuring changes in Lake Simcoe