The mountain pine beetle may not be the only undesirable species to exploit warming temperatures in B.C. as a result of projected climate change.

Scientists project warmer, wetter winters for B.C.

Climate change forecasts point to earlier runoff, potential summer water supply problems

Climate change will likely mean warmer, rainier winters in B.C. as well as reduced summer stream flows, a forum in Vancouver heard Monday as new international findings were released.

Dr. Francis Zwiers, director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) and vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group 1, said projections for B.C. point to further warming of 2.9 degrees in the winter and 2.4 degrees in the summer by 2100, under a moderate carbon emission scenario.

Winter warming on that scale could translate into 17 to 51 more days per year of frost-free conditions, he told the forum, in the wake of the already measured reduction of 24 annual frost days since 1900 and a 2.1-degree increase in the province’s winter temperatures.

While a longer growing season might be a boon to gardeners and farmers, Zwiers noted warming winters have also allowed unwanted species like the mountain pine beetle to flourish and wreak havoc on Interior forests.

“That’s an impact that has been linked to a changing climate,” Zwiers said.

“You can just imagine there would be many other organisms that would find B.C. to be a much more hospitable place to live, even in a slightly warmer climate than we have at the moment, or a slightly wetter climate than we have at the moment.”

PCIC researchers projected climate changes in B.C. over the rest of this century using the same models as the IPCC.

Winter warming would be greater in the northeast than other parts of the province, while summer warming projections are roughly uniform.

Zwiers said the modeling shows winter, spring and fall precipitation will increase in B.C., with a 10 per cent increase in precipitation in winters expected and summers potentially getting wetter in the north but drier in the south.

Wetter, warmer winters could affect the province’s supply of water for drinking, farming, power generation and salmon migration.

With less water being stored as snow over the winter, Zwiers said, B.C. can expect higher amounts of winter and spring runoff, leaving less behind in the upper elevations to deliver water in summer.

The new IPCC report reiterated that the planet is warming and people are the probable cause.

But some observers criticized it for downgrading projected temperature increases due to a 15-year “pause” in average surface temperature rise.

Zwiers maintained human influence is clear and action is urgently needed to both reduce emissions and adapt to expected “substantial” impacts.

The IPCC report predicts Canada will face more warming than the global average, along with more frequent and more intense extreme weather events.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Work begins on Otter Point Road project in Sooke

The project now has a fall completion date following a long delay

First Nation dispute closes part of school parking lot in Sooke

T’Sou-ke’s George family now in negotiation with School District

Life complicated when water not secure

Water issues have real-life impacts in Sooke Region

North Saanich’s Deep Cove Market up for sale for almost $1.8 million

Long-time owner Rosemary Scott hopes the public will understand her decision

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read