"Telling the Weather Story" -- Climate is changing and decisions need to
TORONTO, June 4, 2012 /CNW/ - What will Canada's weather look like 40
years from now? According to projections made by Professor Gordon
McBean, a world renowned climate scientist from the University of
Western Ontario, warmer temperatures in the summer months will, in some
regions, result in an increase in wild fires, drought, water scarcity,
lightning flash density and the risk of hail storms. Also parts of the
country will see more intense winter storms, more freezing rain and
precipitation, as well as a significant decline in sea ice cover and
increased coastal erosion.
These are some of the findings of a research report released today
entitled Telling the Weather Story: Can Canada Manage the Storms Ahead? The research was commissioned by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and
conducted by Dr. McBean and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss
Reduction. Dr. McBean is also President-elect of the International
Council for Science; Chair of the ad-hoc Committee for the Ontario
Regional Climate Change Consortium; Chair of Board of the Canadian
Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences; former Chair of the
international Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Program; and member
of the UNESCO High Panel for Science for Development.
According to Dr. McBean, "Both the historical and projected trends shown
in the research point to the need for Canada to adapt now in order to
minimize social and economic costs in the future."
Gregor Robinson is Senior Vice President, Policy and Chief Economist
with IBC. He added, "We hope that this research will act as a catalyst
for governments, industry, communities and individuals to recognize the
weather risks we are facing and to enter discussions about how to
reduce their effects on Canadians' lives and communities."
Robinson went on to say, "Insurers are seeing the financial impacts of
severe weather first-hand. Canadians are already witnessing the
impact of severe weather in terms of lost lives and injuries, families
displaced from their homes, and towns that are devastated."
In 2011, catastrophic events cost Canadian insurers roughly $1.7B and
almost $1B in each of the two previous years. The majority of these
insured losses were caused by extreme weather events, but smaller
weather events also played a role in significant property damage for
IBC commissioned this research to better understand severe weather as a
factor in the increasing damages to personal and commercial properties
that we are seeing in many parts of Canada. IBC wanted to know more
about how current weather patterns are likely to evolve in the decades
ahead, and to begin the process of helping Canadians prepare to adapt
to these changes.
IBC is a leader in advocating for adaptation to severe weather. Visit
ibc.ca for a selection of brochures and a section of our website
devoted to providing Canadians with practical tips about how they can
improve their home's resiliency. Backwater valves and proper grading
can help prepare against flooding and disaster safety kits can help
families survive in the hours and days following a disaster or severe
weather event. And when people are choosing where to live, they can
ask about whether there is any history of flooding or problems with
sewer back-up. At the community level, planners may want to think
twice about developing areas that are prone to flood.
A regional summary of Dr. Gordon McBean's Report
There is likely to be an increase in hurricane and storm activity in the
region with resulting storm surges. Freezing rain events will likely
increase by 50 per cent in Newfoundland. Nova Scotia could see
increases of about 20 per cent.
More hot days are coming. Trends point to three times as many days over
30 degrees C for Quebec City as there were in the period 1961-1990.
Comparatively, Montreal is expected to see a 60 per cent increase in
hot days by 2050. More heavy precipitation, more freezing rain events
of more than six hours are probable. Increased forest fire frequency
Summertime warming is likely to be near 2-3 degrees. Toronto could see
significantly more hot days (over 30 degrees C) in summer. Frost-free
days in winter in Ontario are expected to double by 2050. The research
projects more heavy precipitation. More freezing rain, flash flooding
more wildfires are projected with the highest increases over
Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Temperature increases are likely to be greatest in winter and spring in
the south, at increases of 3-4 degrees C. Drought and water scarcity
are likely to be a growing climate risk through the prairies. More
extreme precipitation events and flooding are expected.
The province will probably be hard hit by drought and water scarcity due
to decreases in summer precipitation, falling lake levels, retreating
glacier, decreasing soil-water content and a greater number of dry
years. There is likely to be more hail, storms and wildfires. Lightning
flash density could increase by 20 per cent, with consequences for
wildfires. Once again, heavy rainfall events are projected that can
cause flash flooding, and events happening once every 20 years
occurring every ten years.
While weather in British Columbia will be variable, overall projections
show warmer and wetter weather. The mountain snowpack is expected to
decline. It is possible that wildfires could increase significantly in
the province's forests, by 50 per cent or more in the period to 2050.
By 2050 the likelihood of the temperature in Iqaluit exceeding 25
degrees C. could be five times greater than during the 80s. There is an
overall projected increase in temperature by 2-4 degrees C in the
north. The fire season in the Yukon and Northwest Territories will
likely increase by ten days, increasing the frequency of evacuations
and the risk of property destruction. Sea levels could be 15-25 cm
As well, the complete report, "Telling the Weather Story," is available
for download on ibc.ca.
About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association
representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its
member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C)
insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over
114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal,
provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of
To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC's
website at www.ibc.ca.
SOURCE INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA
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