As part of the collective efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change in the National Capital Region, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the City of Ottawa commissioned a new climate projections report to assist in planning resilience initiatives.

The report shows that the region will become warmer and wetter in the coming decades – and that actions to mitigate emissions and adapt will determine the impact of these changes.

The report details how the region’s weather will change in the coming decades, including detailed analysis of future climate conditions with respect to temperature, precipitation, wind and extreme weather events. These projections are expected to help understand the impact of climate change on communities, infrastructure, the economy and the natural environment. Having consistent regional climate information helps develop resilience and adaptation initiatives, and reduce future impacts.

“The City of Ottawa is committed to taking action to address climate change,” said Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa. “Our aim is to reduce climate risks and impacts, and to make sure that our city is prepared to adapt to changing climate conditions. We will use the projections to create a proactive strategy and take action to prepare for future changes.”

The City of Ottawa has declared a climate emergency and committed to take action to protect the economy, ecosystems and community. One of the city’s priorities is to develop a climate resiliency strategy to make sure that Ottawa is prepared to adapt to changing climate conditions. This study is the first milestone for this project.

In 2018, the NCC’s Board of Directors approved its five-year Sustainable Development Strategy, providing a focused and innovative agenda for environmental leadership, and serving as an overarching element to be included in all the NCC’s plans, strategies, policies and operations. This climate projections project is a deliverable under the strategy’s climate change adaptation initiative.

“The NCC is focused on creating a greener and more sustainable National Capital Region by addressing climate change, building resilient infrastructure, protecting natural capital, promoting sustainable agriculture and transportation, and connecting Canadians with nature,” said Tobi Nussbaum, chief executive officer of NCC. “These climate projections put into sharp relief the importance of accelerating our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.’’

The projections will be used to identify risks both from gradual changes in temperature and precipitation and from extreme events (such as heat waves, flooding and storms).

The NCC and the City of Ottawa relied on data and advice from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Services. CBCL Limited was hired as the consultant to develop the climate change projection models and prepare the report.

Key findings include the following:

  • The National Capital Region will become warmer in all seasons, and wetter during fall, winter and spring.
  • The calendar of the seasons will shift, with later fall and earlier spring.
  • Extreme heat events will become more common.
  • Winters are expected to become shorter, with fewer snowfalls.
  • Precipitation will increase in volume and intensity.

To read the full report and explore more climate data, click here.

Featured image credit: NCC.

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