- The Government of Canada has released predictions about the future of our country through the lens of pertinent climate change indicators.
- In Montreal, the data shows significant increases in temperatures as well as precipitation.
- The data below highlights the research of several renowned Canadian climate research institutes.
Though it's no fun to think about, the stark reality is that climate change is in full swing and shows no signs of relenting. We can take some measures but many experts agree that at our going rate, we'll pass that "point of no return" by 2035.
We've all heard what can happen - stronger storms, sea-levels increase, uncontrollable forest fires, scorching summer temperatures, and more are expected all over the globe. But what about Montreal?
Our weather is famous for being uncooperative and unruly. Not a season goes by where Montrealers don't complain about it in some way or another.
Thanks to some new statistics released by ClimateData.ca, we can predict what's in store for Montreal if climate change continues to go unchecked.
ClimateData.ca is an online portal released in collaboration between Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Computer Research Institute of Montréal (CRIM), Ouranos, the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), the Prairie Climate Centre (PCC), and HabitatSeven. The website was officially launched in June 2019.
As per Canada's Changing Climate Report, "Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future, driven by human influence. Global emissions of carbon dioxide from human activity will largely determine how much warming Canada and the world will experience in the future, and this warming is effectively irreversible."
In response to this, the government sourced data from various institutes to offer the public a better picture of what they can expect in the future. More information about their methodology can be found here.
Here, we'll focus on four variables in Montreal and analyze the 50-year annual predictions for hottest day, mean temperature, total precipitation, and ice days.
The following charts forecast the median and range of temperatures, days, and precipitation on the Y-axis (vertical) and the years, in 25-year markers on the X-axis (horizontal). We'll be comparing 2019 with the next 5 decades, until 2060.
The blue line represents predictions at the lowest output of greenhouse gas emissions (RCP 2.6) and the red line represents the worst-case scenario at the maximum output of greenhouse gas emissions (RCP 8.5). These will be our focus.
According to the chart, the average temperature of the hottest day in 2019 (so far) is 34.1°C if we're to assume RCP 2.6. Considering the summer we're having, that sounds about right. At RCP 8.5, that temperature jumps almost one whole degree.
As you notice, there's a steady increase over the years. In 50 years, Montreal's hottest day could be anywhere between 35.1°C and 40.6°C. That's huge.
The mean annual temperature in Montreal is also set to increase drastically. Right now, at RCP 2.6, the annual average is 7.7°C. By 2035, under the same conditions, that average will jump to 8.2°C. This means shorter winters and longer summers.
It gets even worse if we continue using the maximum amount of GHG emissions. By 2060, we might not see a day under 10.8°C all year.
Precipitation levels are expected to remain steady over the next 50 years, with some exceptions.
This year, the city can expect to see between 868 mm to 1,130 mm of precipitation. In 2035, between 901 mm to 1,321 mm. In 2060, between 832 mm to 1,334 mm. Though only slight increases, more precipitation can lead to more flash flooding during the spring thaw.
You can see some of the starkest variables by evaluating ice days. This year, at RCP 2.6, we have an average of 72 ice days. At RCP 8.5, however, those numbers sharply drop.
In 2035 at RCP 8.5, Montreal will only see 65 ice days. In 2060, that number drops to 43 days.
There are plenty more datasets and graphs that you can explore over at ClimateData.ca.
Click here to find out the climate and weather predictions provided by the Government for your area.