Adams Road near Reid’s corner in Kelowna, completely underwater, May 6, 2017. (File)

Okanagan faces increased temperatures, flooding: climate projections report

Report suggests more fires, water shortages, smoke days, spring flooding

A climate projection report is anticipating significant changes to Okanagan weather conditions over the next few decades.

The report, compiled by the regional districts of the North Okanagan, Central Okanagan and Okanagan-Similkameen in partnership with Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Pinna Sustainability, outlines climate projections for 2050 and 2080 to assist regional planners to prepare for future climate events.

“There is a need to plan for more intense and hotter fires, increasing water shortages, more smoke days, and a greater likelihood of spring flooding. These changes will have serious consequences on ecosystems, communities, and the economy,” reads part of the report.

Some of the key findings of the report are as follows:

  • Warmer temperatures year-round
  • Summers will be considerably hotter
  • Increased duration of growing season
  • Warmer winter temperatures
  • Increased precipitation across all seasons except summer
  • Summer is expected to remain the driest season, and become drier
  • Shifting seasons

Summers are projected to get hotter by the later part of the century, with the valley bottoms, where the majority of the population lives, seeing nearly triple the number of days with temperatures at or over 30 C.

Temperatures on the coldest nights are projected to rise in all seasons across the Okanagan. Winter nighttime low temperatures are projected to warm more than other seasons. By the 2050s, there will be 28 per cent fewer frost days.

Increased precipitation is also expected, specifically in autumn and spring. By 2080, the Okanagan could see 17 per cent more rainfall during these seasons.

“This report is one of the most important tools we have in preparing for our future as a region,” said Kevin Acton, chair of the Regional District of North Okanagan. “We need action now, and through this report, we have a clearer idea of what to expect and how to adapt for the longevity of our communities.”

“The modelling projections being completed by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium will help local governments prepare for a range of possible scenarios,” said Karla Kozakevich, chair of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

“This report will also provide valuable data about the potential environmental and economic challenges impacting the Okanagan in the coming decades.”

Regional District Central Okanagan chair Gail Given, said the report show’s what many already know and it’s time to act.

“We’ve all seen the impact climate change is having on our environment and economy. The Climate Projections Report lays the groundwork for everyone to respond and act in a meaningful way to help mitigate the potential challenges in the years ahead.”

The full report can be accessed on the RDNO website.

READ MORE: Climate protesters stage peaceful protest during Kelowna council meeting

READ MORE: Okanagan faces high flood risk due to above average snowpack


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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