Transcript: Climate Watch Shorts: The record keepers | May 31, 2017

(music plays)

(music plays)

A black spinning globe appears next to the caption "TVO Climate Change Shorts."

A caption reads "Nam Kiwanuka. Climate Watch Shorts host."

Nam has curly brown hair and wears glasses, a blue top, a black jacket and a long printed orange scarf.
She stands on a rocky outcrop on a lakeshore, with the Toronto skyline in the distant background.

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

Nam says WELCOME TO CLIMATE
WATCH SHORTS
WHERE WE EXAMINE THE LOCAL
IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT
CLIMATE DATA PREDATES
COMPUTERS AND SPREADSHEETS.
WE LOOK AT HOW RESEARCHERS
DUG INTO THE RECORDS OF
JAPANESE MONKS FROM THE
15th CENTURY TO LEARN
WHAT LAKES COULD TELL
US ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE.

(music plays)
An old Japanese ink painting appears briefly. It portrays a landscape of lakes surrounded by mountains, with sparse forests.

A female voice says THERE'S A LEGEND IN JAPAN
THAT GOD AND A GODDESS
LIVED TOGETHER IN A SHRINE
THAT WAS ON THE SHORES
OF LAKE SUWA.
THEY GOT INTO A DISAGREEMENT
AND SO THE GODDESS MOVED OUT,
AND SHE BUILT HERSELF A
SHRINE ON THE OPPOSITE END
OF THE LAKE.
AND EVERY WINTER THE GOD
WOULD CROSS THE LAKE
AND VISIT THE GODDESS
TO ASK FOR FORGIVENESS
AND MAKE AMENDS AND LEAVE
THIS RIDGE IN THE ICE.

Sepia-tone clips show frozen trees and snowy landscapes.
A black and white picture shows priests and several men performing a ritual by a ridge made of ice, in the middle of the lake.

The voice continues SINCE 1442 WHEN THE LAKE
FROZE, THE SHINTO PRIESTS
KEPT METICULOUS NOTES
ON RICE PAPER TO DOCUMENT
THOSE DATES.
AND THEY DID IT
FOR 570 YEARS.
AND THEY'RE CONTINUING
TO DO IT STILL.

A caption reads "The record keepers. Stories told by lake ice."

Daytime clips show a snowy landscape. A sign outside a building reads "Sample reception." A caption reads "Dorset, Ontario."

[drill buzzing]

A blue metal drill spins into the ice next to two pairs of ice boots. Two people take out a sample.

The woman speaking appears. A caption reads "Sapna Sharma. Associate Professor, Department of Biology at York University."

Sapna is in her late forties, with long straight black hair.

She says LAKES ARE SENSITIVE
INDICATORS OF CLIMATE.
AND LAKE ICE
PARTICULARLY IS A
VERY SENSITIVE
INDICATOR OF CLIMATE.

Now she and two men in orange and gray overalls stand on a frozen lake. One man, in his forties, with a stubble looks into a hole in the ice.

He says RIGHT AT THE VERY BOTTOM IS
THAT BLACK ICE OR BLUE ICE
WHICH IS NICE AND CLEAR.
BUT JUST ABOVE IT THIS YEAR
IS WHITE ICE OR SLUSH ICE.
THERE'S 36 CENTIMETRES
OF WHITE ICE AND ONLY
2 CENTIMETRES OF BLUE ICE,
WHICH IS REALLY ATYPICAL.
WE HAVEN'T SEEN THIS
MUCH WHITE ICE IN THE
HISTORICAL RECORD.

Sapna says SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS LOOKING
AT DOES A LAKE FREEZE OR NOT
CAN GIVE US AN INDICATION
OF HOW CLIMATE HAS CHANGED.
SO WE LOOK AT HOW
LAKE ICE HAS CHANGED
OVER CENTURIES.
THERE'S LAKE CONSTANCE
IN GERMANY, AND THEY USED
TO WALK A STATUE OF
MADONNA ACROSS THE LAKE,
AND NOW THIS LAKE
DOESN'T FREEZE ANYMORE.
ON LAKE SUWA IN JAPAN,
THE RECORD WASN'T DEVELOPED
OR MAINTAINED FOR
CLIMATE PURPOSES,
IT WAS USED AS A WAY TO
UNDERSTAND THEIR LEGEND.

A colour picture shows a priest in white surrounded by men in black, on the frozen lake, near the ice ridge.

Sapna continues AND THEN USING THESE RECORDS
WE CAN SORT OF INFER
CLIMATE CHANGES.

Clips show old books with handwriting in Japanese.

Sapna continues IT'S EXCITING WHEN YOU
JUST HEAR OF A DATABASE.
WE HAVE 3 TO 7 MILLION
LAKES IN CANADA.

Fast clips show maps of Canada's lakes, and bulky records in archive shelves.

Sapna continues WE DID A STUDY.
IT WAS PRETTY COOL.
THERE WERE SCIENTISTS
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
THAT HAD INFORMATION ON
LAKE WATER TEMPERATURES
FOR THE LAST 25 YEARS.

In a meeting with the man from the ice, another woman, and a man in his late forties, she says THIS ONE LAKE FITS IN WITH
TWO HUNDRED OTHER LAKES
THAT COLLECT HIGH
FREQUENCY DATA, SO...
DEFINITELY.

The man with the stubble says SO DORSET, I DON'T KNOW,
IT'S ONE OF THE SITES
WHICH THEY ARE
GROWING AS WE SPEAK.
FOR THE GLOBAL LAKE ECOLOGICAL
OBSERVATORY NETWORK AND,
COLLECTIVELY, AND THERE'S
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS.

Fast clips show maps of lakes and a chart which shows the shortening in the length of ice-cover season from 1978 to 2008 and projected to 2099.

Sapna continues SO WE CREATED SORT OF
LIKE A GLOBAL MAP
AND LOOKED AT TRENDS
AND HOW THEY'VE CHANGED
OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS.
AND WE'VE FOUND 90 PERCENT
OF THE LAKES ARE WARMING.

The other woman in the meeting, in her twenties, says I'M LOOKING AT MY
SWEDISH LAKES RIGHT NOW,
AND THERE ARE LIKE VERY
STRONG TRENDS UP THERE.
AND SO I'M CURIOUS TO
SEE WHAT MY FINLAND LAKES
ARE GOING TO LOOK LIKE
BECAUSE THEY'RE AROUND
THE SAME AREA.
AND BECAUSE CLIMATE
CHANGE IS SUPPOSEDLY GOING
TO AFFECT THE NORTHERN
AREAS A LOT MORE THAN IT IS
THE LATITUDES
BELOW, RIGHT?

Clips show a frozen lake on a sunny day.

Sapna continues SO YOU NEED DATA TO MAKE
DECISIONS ABOUT EVERYTHING
IN YOUR LIFE.
AND WE USE DATA IN EVERY
ONE OF OUR DECISIONS.
IT'S LIKE
KEEPING DIARIES.
AND I THINK IT'S LIKE OUR
CONNECTION TO THE WORLD.
LIKE KEEPING A RECORD OF
WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND US.

Clips show the Japanese record books.

Sapna continues IT'S KIND OF SAD BECAUSE
LAKE SUWA HAS THIS
RICH HISTORY IN TRADITION,
AND IN THE LAST 10 YEARS
THE LAKE DIDN'T
FREEZE 5 TIMES.
IT MIGHT BE IN THE NEXT
20 YEARS THAT THE LAKE
DOES NOT FREEZE AT ALL.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Music by Stefan Banjevic. Photos courtesy of Kiyoshi Miyasaka, John Magnuson, and Asuka Momose."

(music plays)

A caption reads "tvo.org/climatewatch."

Watch: Climate Watch Shorts: The record keepers