Saskatoon prepares for flooding, reviews climate data

Saskatoon prepares for flooding, reviews climate data | Insurance Business

Saskatoon prepares for flooding, reviews climate data

In anticipation of how climate change could lead to bigger disasters in the near future, the city of Saskatoon is reviewing its climate data.

“We’re basically reviewing climate data and climate information and projections that have been prepared at a national level,” Saskatoon director of sustainability Jeanna South told CBC News.

The findings of the research will be compiled into a report, which will be submitted to councillors next week.

“It’s important for us to get to better understand the possible impacts that we might see,” South added.

Researchers found that Saskatoon could see a nearly seven degree increase in average yearly temperature by the year 2100. By that time, the city can also expect a 24% increase in precipitation between the months of March and June.

South noted that, aside from the impact the increased temperature would have on water and wastewater utility delivery systems, it could also lead to more heat stress on plants and the urban forest. There will also likely be more demand on the power of utility and delivery systems due to the “very highly variable and extreme conditions.”

Previous records suggest that Saskatoon does not have to wait for 100 years for the worst case scenario – it is already feeling the effects of climate change. Since 2002, payouts from the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program have jumped from $10.4 million to over $157 million. The city also received $4.5 million from the program in 2010 alone to cover flooding damage.

South believes the data shows the importance of emissions reduction.

“Even in the scenarios that we’re looking at when we project to 2100, we’ll still see some impacts from climate change even under very high emission reductions,” she remarked. “We want to make sure that we’re planning for that and being proactive.”

The administration will release a second study in June to discuss the possible solutions the city can take.