Extreme Weather The ‘New Normal’

Lightning strike (Photo courtesy of Rachel Hoekstra)

A specialist at the University of Waterloo’s Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation is predicting more weather extremes for the foreseeable future.

Natalia Moudrak says her research indicates extreme weather is the “new normal”.

She points to the projection from the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change of substantial warming and heavy precipitation events globally into the 21st century.

They believe Canada will warm faster than the global average and experience more frequent and intense severe weather. Environment and Climate Change Canada also predict an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events in Canada.

Moudrak says one of the impacts of extreme weather is the cost of dealing with things like flooding, and that cost is expected to increase in conjunction with the severity of storms.

She points out the only options are to employ either traditional or natural barriers to flooding.

“Really a key benefit of using natural infrastructure, such as wetlands for example for climate adaptation is that it can serve a number of functions, for example, both flood and drought attenuation with a variety of additional ecological and societal benefits,” says┬áMoudrak.

Natalia Moudrak, Director of Infrastructure Adaptation for the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo (Bob Montgomery photo)