Published on June 8, 2020
Ottawa — As part of our collective efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change in the National Capital Region, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and the City of Ottawa commissioned a new climate projections report to assist in planning resilience initiatives. The report shows that the National Capital Region will become warmer and wetter in the coming decades. Our actions to mitigate emissions and adapt will determine the impact of these changes.
The report details how our region’s weather will change in the coming decades, including detailed analysis of future climate conditions with respect to temperature, precipitation, wind and extreme weather events. These projections will help us better understand the impact of climate change on communities, infrastructure, the economy and the natural environment. Having consistent regional climate information will help us develop resilience and adaptation initiatives, and reduce future impacts.
The City of Ottawa has declared a climate emergency and committed to take action to protect Ottawa’s economy, ecosystems and community. One of the City’s priorities is to develop a climate resiliency strategy to make sure that Ottawa is prepared to adapt to changing climate conditions. This study is the first milestone for this project.
In 2018, the NCC’s Board of Directors approved its five-year Sustainable Development Strategy, providing a focused and innovative agenda for environmental leadership in Canada’s Capital Region, and serving as an overarching element to be included in all the NCC’s plans, strategies, policies and operations. This climate projections project is a deliverable under the strategy’s climate change adaptation initiative.
We will use the projections to identify risks both from gradual changes in temperature and precipitation and from extreme events (such as heat waves, flooding and storms). This will guide the City’s development of a long-term climate resiliency strategy, and the National Capital Commission’s creation of a plan to manage the greatest risks.
- The National Capital Region will become warmer in all seasons, and wetter during fall, winter and spring.
- The calendar of the seasons will shift, with later fall and earlier spring.
- Extreme heat events will become more common.
- Winters are expected to become shorter, with fewer snowfalls.
- Precipitation will increase in volume and intensity.
See the attached table for more highlights, or visit our web pages listed below to read the full report and explore more climate data.
- The National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa relied on data and advice from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Services. CBCL Limited was hired as the consultant to develop the climate change projection models and prepare the report.
- The project used an impacts-driven approach which involved feedback from partners and stakeholders such as the Ville de Gatineau, Public Services and Procurement Canada, Hydro Ottawa and local conservation authorities.
- The study includes projections to the year 2100, and provides a range of results for scenarios of moderate and high emissions.
- The climate projections in this report are available to the public. Local organizations, businesses and residents can use these data to assess their climate risks, and develop adaptation and resiliency plans.
- The City of Ottawa will conduct a climate vulnerability assessment to guide the development of a long-term climate resiliency strategy. It will involve all City departments, including Ottawa Public Health.
- The completion of this report marks the end of Phase 1 of the NCC’s climate change adaptation initiative, under its Sustainable Development Strategy, 2018–2023. Phase 2 will examine projections to understand the biggest risks to people, infrastructure, the economy and nature. Phase 3 will use these risk assessments to develop a plan to manage the greatest risks.
“The City of Ottawa is committed to taking action to address climate change. Our aim is to reduce climate risks and impacts, and to make sure that our city is prepared to adapt to changing climate conditions. We will use the projections to create a proactive strategy and take action to prepare for future changes.”
— Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa
‘’The NCC is focused on creating a greener and more sustainable National Capital Region by addressing climate change, building resilient infrastructure, protecting natural capital, promoting sustainable agriculture and transportation, and connecting Canadians with nature. These climate projections put into sharp relief the importance of accelerating our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
— Tobi Nussbaum, Chief Executive Officer, National Capital Commission
The NCC’s Climate Change Initiative
The NCC’s Sustainable Development Strategy, 2018–2023
City of Ottawa Climate Change and Resiliency web page
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The National Capital Region will become much warmer and wetter over the coming decades with more extreme events. The rate and extent of climate change will depend on future global greenhouse gas emissions. The table below shows what to expect in a high emissions scenario. Significant global action is required to reduce emissions below the high emission scenario.
For more information see the Climate Projections for the National Capital Region (2020) full report at the City of Ottawa Climate Change and Resiliency web page and The NCC’s Climate Change Initiative
This report was prepared by CBCL Limited for the National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada.