Climate trends and projections
In recent decades, a noticeable warming trend in temperature has been established in the Northwest Territories (NWT). This warming trend, the result of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities, is approximately four to five times more pronounced in the Northwest Territories than in more southerly areas of the world. Annual average air temperatures in the NWT have increased by approximately 2.4oC since the mid-20th century, a much greater increase than the global average of 0.55oC.
Projections into the climate future of the NWT vary, depending on emmisions, as outlined in the University of Alaska Climate Biomes 2012 Report (full report; summary). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change CMIP5 projections range considerably depending on the level of greenhouse gas mitigation to take place in the near future. Therefore, predictions on the impacts of climate change in the NWT also range considerably. The projections range from at least a 2oC increase to more than an 8oC increase in average temperature in the NWT by the end of the century. The changes in NWT ecosystems resulting from climate change could be substantial and irreversible.