BC, Atlantic precipitation gives ‘look into the future’ of Canadian climate

The heavy rainfall events that hit the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada are a glimpse of the country’s climate future, experts say.


However, the impact of such extreme weather, such as major flooding in British Columbia, can be managed if world leaders are able to limit climate change.

“There is a new normal coming. … This is a glimpse into the future,” said Kent Moore, professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Toronto.

“We are seeing the effects of all the warming that has happened in the last century and we will continue to warm.”

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This week, communities on Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts are facing heavy rainfall from two”atmospheric riverStorms, are huge bands of water vapor in the sky that can be several hundred kilometers long.

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On the east coast, Strong winds and heavy rain are making landfall in Atlantic Canada is part of a storm system moving up from the Caribbean.

Some areas, like the port of Halifax, have recorded gusts of up to 107 km/h. Total precipitation has exceeded 50 mm in some Maritime communities and these numbers are expected to increase.

Environment Canada said 100 to 150 mm of rain could fall east of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, while southwest Newfoundland could see up to 300 mm of rain over the next two days.

More than a month of rain is expected in eastern Nova Scotia and up to two months in southwestern Newfoundland over the next few days. For southwestern Newfoundland, this could be a one in 100-year rainstorm.

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Meanwhile, on the west coast, parts of British Columbia will see some storms Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell said up to 100 to 200 mm of rain could be expected in central and northern BC.

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That system, expected to begin late Wednesday, will move south and could drop up to 100 mm of rain over parts of the province still recovering from severe flooding caused by a heavy downpour. just last week, Farnell said.

“The ground is still saturated, and that’s worrying – that now there’s no longer these incredible amounts of rain to cause flooding,” he said.

“Also, a lot of the surrounding dike systems, the pumping stations, have all been weakened. So if you get another atmospheric river or one of these parades of storms coming in, you’ll have the problem again. “

Heavy rain this week will remain across central and northern BC However, rainfall over the weekend could hamper cleanup efforts in the south and could cause more flooding and landslides.

Graphics Global News

While these so-called atmospheric rivers are nothing new – especially for the west coast – their size and repeatability is what worries experts.

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Rivers in the atmosphere and climate change

Last week, a atmospheric river struck southern BC, causing floods, landslides and landslides that damaged highways, displaced thousands and isolated.

Typically, the west coast can see an average of 20 to 30 atmospheric rivers in the fall and winter, said Armel Castellan, an Environment Canada warning readiness meteorologist.

Furthermore, at any given time in the world, there may be 4-5 atmospheric rivers occurring. But the severity of these atmospheric rivers is changing.

Castellan said some atmospheric rivers are holding more water and, as a result, weather phenomena could last longer. He said the trend is “in line with climate change.”

“When it becomes an event lasting 48 hours or so, or even 36 hours, it can be very detrimental depending on the rate of rain; then you start to look at atmospheric rivers that are not only beneficial to the ecosystem but also completely destructive,” he said.

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We know that atmospheric moisture increases as a result of the underlying climate warming in the post-industrial era, so you can add more moisture to the runoff and that create strong atmospheric rivers. than. “

Click to play video:'Nova Scotia weathers heavy rain and storms'

Nova Scotia weathers strong winds and rain

Nova Scotia weathers strong winds and rain

Farnell said while it is difficult to blame climate change on a specific event, weather systems that have previously shown extreme events are becoming more common.

Canada’s coastal regions will be among the first to suffer these effects, he added.

“One similarity is that with a warming climate, even an increase of one to two degrees above such a large ocean would add an incredible amount of energy and water vapor to these systems, because so you will see 20 to 30% more rainfall. Farnell said.

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“The flood happened last week – those things happen in our lifetimes. But when you start to see the number of events pile up, not just in Canada but in other parts of the world, you step back a bit and wonder… what’s going on? ”

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In 2019, The Council of Canadian Academy concluded that the coasts of Canada is one of the regions facing the greatest risks from climate change.

Climate change is gradually causing sea levels to rise, making floods more common and rising water heavier and stronger, the report said.

Infrastructure is also a concern as heavy rains, floods and high winds are increasingly threatening buildings from homes to hospitals.

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Although Canada’s coastlines are at risk of extreme weather, climate change is not limited to a few provinces or territories.

“During the GTA over the past couple of summers, we’ve had torrential downpours that flooded storm drains and flooded basements,” he said.

“Every part of the country is experiencing the effects of climate change, and that varies depending on where you are.”

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Moore added climate change management depends on world leaders to control the severity of weather phenomena.

“If we increase (temperature) by the end of this century… it will really determine the magnitude of future events,” he said.

“We have more control over their stress levels.”

– with files from the Canadian Press.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. BC, Atlantic precipitation gives ‘look into the future’ of Canadian climate


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