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Reducing impact of severe weather


Staff writers
June 5, 2012 — According to a new report, Canadians need to be prepared for future weather trends that could result in more severe conditions and economic impact.


Canada expected to warm much faster than the rest of the world on average
Canada expected to warm much faster than the rest of the world on average

The report was commissioned by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and was released in an address by Dr. Gordon McBean on Monday.

Dr. McBean is a world renowned climate scientist who has studied the future of weather trends in Canada. He says Canada will warm much faster than the rest of the world on average.

"Typically by 2050, we'll be warming of three and a half or so degrees celsius...In some parts of the country, such as out in the West, we'll actually see reductions in precipitation and increased concerns about drought and the hot conditions," said Dr. McBean at the luncheon on Monday.

He says hot days of 30 degrees or higher will increase across the country by the middle of the century.

"A city like London, Ontario, where I am from, will be having maybe 30 plus hot days that are over 30 degrees per summer...We have about 10 now."

Heavy precipitation events are expected to increase as well
Heavy precipitation events are expected to increase as well

Experts say the number of heavy precipitation events in some areas are expected to increase as well.

As a result, communities, industry and governments should be in a better position to adapt to these changing conditions.

"The 1 in 20 year event becomes the 1 in 10 year event by the middle of the century and these heavy precipitation events have huge economic costs. The event of August 2005 in Toronto for example, cost the insurance sector about $625 million in payouts for one event," said Dr. McBean.

In some communities, improved building codes, zoning laws, construction and warning systems are already being developed to help recognize the weather risks and reduce the effects on Canadians.

"We have to find ways of reducing our vulnerability, reducing our exposure, so that when that rain event happens, it doesn't cause damage and disruption and social economic health costs that are happening now," warns Dr. McBean. "So we need positive strategies of reducing our exposure and reducing the way in which we are impacted."

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