The Nature of Things·Video

Bye bye backyard rinks: a favourite Canadian pastime could be lost to climate change

Based on Canada’s current weather conditions, scientists predict less outdoor skating in the future.

Based on Canada’s current weather conditions, scientists predict less outdoor skating in the future.

Bye bye backyard rinks: a favourite Canadian pastime could be lost to climate change | Ice and Fire: Tracking Canada's Climate Crisis

4 months ago
Duration 2:36
A citizen science project, tracking outdoor skating conditions across North America, is forecasting some grim predictions for those of us who enjoy our backyard rinks.

Climate change is wreaking havoc on weather and seasons in Canada. From unprecedented flooding to massive ice loss, this country is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world — and three times as fast in the Arctic.

One of the casualties of climate change may be the backyard ice rink. 

RinkWatch is a citizen science project that asks participants across North America to submit winter weather and skating conditions from their backyard rink or favourite outdoor skating spot. 

With the information submitted so far, Dr. Robert McCleman, a professor of Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and co-founder of RinkWatch, and his fellow researchers forecast fewer outdoor skating days for Canadians in the future. "The skating season, that's going to shrink by about 30 to 40 per cent between now and the end of this century."

"The backyard rink is sort of a cultural icon," says Dr. McLeman. "It's part of what being a Canadian is all about, and it would be a real shame if we lost that."

In Ice and Fire: Tracking Canada's Climate Crisis, a documentary from The Nature of Things, scientists show how they're using data from across the country to predict how bad things might get. 

Watch Ice and Fire: Tracking Canada's Climate Crisis on The Nature of Things.

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