Our climate is changing. To keep people and places safe and healthy, we need to understand what changes are coming our way.
As part of our Sustainable Development Strategy, we are launching the NCC’s climate change adaptation initiative. We have now completed Phase 1 of this initiative, which is the production of a report on climate projections for the National Capital Region.
About the Climate Projections for the National Capital Region Report
With our partners, we have commissioned a major study on climate change projections for the National Capital Region. This report is now available, and it details how the region’s weather will change in the coming decades.
Climate projections use models to predict changes in temperature, precipitation, wind and extreme events for a region over several decades.
Read the Climate Projections for the National Capital Region Report
- Executive Summary: Provides a summary of the study and its key findings.
- Volume 1: Provides an overview of the project methodology, findings and implications. It includes results and interpretation for key climate indices.
- Volume 2: Provides plots and tabular data for all the climate indices.
A complete and updated version of the datasets presented in this report is available on the City of Ottawa’s Open Ottawa website. The online datasets include an Excel version of the results, as well as NetCDF files with more detail than provided in the report (e.g. indices calculated for each model and cell). Additional details on the data are also provided in the online version (e.g. model names for each index).
Three datasets are available at Open Ottawa:
- Appendix G — Tables of Climate Indices
- Table 2.1 Projections for Extreme Precipitation Based on Multiple Methods
- NetCDF files
Any minor updates to the datasets will be added to the online platform. Should the user encounter any minor discrepancies with the reports, the online version should be considered to be the most current.
By the 2050s, under a high-emission scenario, we can expect to see many changes in the National Capital Region.
- Spring will start 2 weeks earlier.
- There will be 4 times as many days over 30°C.
- Fall will start 3 weeks later.
Shorter winters with less snow and fewer cold days
- Winter will be shorter by 5 weeks.
- Annual snowfall will decrease by 20%.
- There will be 35% fewer days below -10°C.
- There may be more freezing rain.
A warmer and wetter climate
- Annual precipitation (spring, fall, winter) will increase by 8%.
- The maximum daily precipitation will increase by 14%.
- The annual average temperature will increase by 3.2°C.
- Warming will create favourable conditions for storms, tornadoes and wildfires.
Although this study did not examine specific risks and vulnerabilities, as this aspect will be studied in Phase 2 of the NCC’s climate change initiative, potential impacts are generally known. Climate change will impact the way people live, work, play and travel. This could mean more illnesses and more insurance claims for water-related damages to houses.
It will also impact the way that cities and governments operate and plan. They may have to deal with more road repairs, increased pressure on emergency and health systems, and more flooding on streets.
From an NCC perspective, climate change is already affecting our assets, operations and programs. For example, the floods of 2017 and 2019 had significant impacts on the recreational pathway network. Climate change will also continue to negatively impact popular programs such as cross-country skiing in Gatineau Park and skating on the Rideau Canal. It could also force us to rethink our priorities, from eroding shorelines to invasive species.
A collaborative effort
About the NCC’s climate change adaptation initiative
We are working with partners to better understand impact, vulnerability and risk from this changing climate. With the NCC’s climate change initiative, we’re working on increasing the region’s resiliency.
The NCC’s climate change initiative is a three-phase project.
- Phase 1 (completed): Commission a major study on climate projections for the National Capital Region.
- Phase 2: Use projections to understand the biggest risks to people, infrastructure, economy and nature.
- Phase 3: Use assessments to develop a plan to manage the biggest risks and prioritize our efforts.
- Climate Projections for the National Capital Region Report, Executive Summary (982.046 KB)
- Climate Projections for the National Capital Region Report, Volume 1: Results and Interpretation for Key Climate Indices (8.903 MB)
- Climate Projections for the National Capital Region Report, Volume 2: Plots and Tabular Data for All the Climate Indices (131.929 MB)
- Climate Change: A Long-Term Strategic Issue for the NCC. Implications for Recreation-Tourism Business Lines (2005) (1.223 MB)