B.C., Atlantic rainfalls a ‘glimpse into the future’ of Canada’s climate

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Experts say the severe rainfall events along Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts are a glimpse into the country’s climate future.

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

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


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

This week, communities on Canada’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts are facing severe rainfall from two “atmospheric river” storms, giant 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 hitting Atlantic Canada as part of a hurricane system that is moving upwards from the Caribbean.

Gusts of up to 107 km/h have been recorded in some areas such as Halifax Port. Rainfall totals have exceeded 50 millimeters in many marine communities, and those numbers are expected to climb.

Environment Canada said eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton could receive between 100 and 150 mm of rain, while southwestern Newfoundland could receive 300 mm of rain over the next two days.

Meanwhile, off the west coast, parts of British Columbia will see several storms that could bring 100 to 200 mm of rain to central and northern BC, said Anthony Farnell, chief meteorologist for Granthshala News.

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Farnell said the system, which is expected to begin late Wednesday, will move south and could see up to 100 mm of rain in parts of the province, which are still suffering from the severe flooding caused by rain showers last week. is recovering.

“The ground is still saturated, and it is a matter of concern – that it no longer receives these incredible amounts of rain to cause additional flooding,” he said.

“Also, a lot of dike systems around there, the pumping stations, have all weakened. So if you come across another atmospheric river or one of these parades of stormtroopers, you’re going to have problems again. ,

While these so-called atmospheric rivers are nothing new – especially to the West Coast – their size and repetition are what worries experts.

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Last week, an atmospheric river collided with southern BC, triggering flooding, landslides and landslides, damaging highways, triggering evacuations and leaving thousands of people isolated.

Typically, the West Coast can see an average of 20 to 30 atmospheric rivers in the fall and winter, said Armel Castellan, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Furthermore, at any given time in the world, there may be four to five atmospheric rivers. But the severity of these atmospheric rivers is changing.

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

“When it becomes a 48-hour or more event or a 36-hour event, depending on the rate of rainfall it can be very damaging; Then you start seeing atmospheric rivers which are not only beneficial to the ecosystem, but completely destructive,” he said.

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,We know that since the industrial age a warmer baseline climate results in increased humidity in the atmosphere, so you can add more moisture to the flow and that creates atmospheric rivers that are more powerful in their own right. ,

While it’s difficult to blame climate change for a specific event, Farnell said, past weather systems show that extreme events are becoming more common.

He said Canada’s coastal areas would be the first to experience the effects.

“An analogy is that with a warmer climate, even a one to two degree increase in such a large ocean adds an incredible amount of energy and water vapor to these systems, so you’re going to see 20 to 30 percent more precipitation. And Those areas are the first to feel the effects,” Farnell said.

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“The floods that happened last week – that happen in our lifetime. But when you start looking at the number of incidents not only in Canada but elsewhere in the world, you take a step back and wonder… What are you saying? “

In 2019, the Council of Canadian Academies concluded that Canada’s coast is among the regions that face the greatest risks from climate change.

Climate change is gradually increasing sea levels, the report said, making floods more common and heavier and more powerful.

Infrastructure was also a concern as heavy rains, flooding and strong winds are threatening buildings ranging from homes to hospitals.

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Although Canada’s coasts are at risk of severe weather, climate change is not limited to just a few provinces or regions.

“The last few summers in GTA, we’ve had really heavy rains that overheated the storm sewer system and flooded the basements,” he said.

“Every part of the country is experiencing …

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