Warmer, wetter, wilder N.L. weather over next 50 years
Provincial government releases long-term climate change study
A report released by the provincial government outlines just how climate change is expected to affect Newfoundland and Labrador over the long term.
The study looks ahead 50 years.
The prediction? More rain and more storms coming, with warmer temperatures.
Environment Minister Tom Hedderson says the information is vital to improving decision-making by all levels of government, businesses and organizations.
"From agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, to infrastructure, health and tourism, that is why it is so important that we improve our understanding of what we can expect to happen so we can better plan for the future," Hedderson said.
The study found that:
- precipitation amounts during extreme events are expected to increase by at least 10 per cent at most locations;
- what is now a 1-in-100 year storm today is expected to become a 1-in-50 or 1-in-25 year storm by mid-century;
- a 1-in-25 year storm today is likely to become a 1-in-5 year storm by mid-century.
Hedderson says government departments will use this new information when building roads and bridges.
The data will also be put online for towns and cities to use for their own planning.
"This vital information improves decision-making by all levels of government, businesses and organizations when dealing with and planning for changing weather patterns," Hedderson said.
The biggest temperature increases will come for Labrador. Fifty years from now, the average winter temperature will be five degrees warmer in parts of Labrador.
Overall, temperatures are expected to rise between two and four degrees in the province by the middle of the century.
That’s good news for heating, bad news if you rely on the sea ice to get around.
Warmer weather will also change the oceans, increase productivity for aquaculture, but also could mean new insects and pests.
"All indications are that things are moving faster now than even the climate models were projecting a few years ago," said Joel Finnis, the Memorial University climatologist who put together the report.
The study used temperature and precipitation data from 12 weather stations in Newfoundland and six in Labrador, then applied them to regional models to develop provincial climate projections.