A new analysis predicts that northern Ontario will have mild, rainy winters and scorching, dry summers by the 2080s. This will provide new opportunities in agriculture, according to the report commissioned by the provincial government. Still, the variable weather will also endanger everything from power lines to highways, water treatment plants and the forestry sector.
“Have things changed yet? They’ve been changing for quite some time. We’ve had severe weather. We know what it looks like and what it feels like,” said Al Douglas, director of the Climate Risk Institute in Sudbury and one of the authors of the report. authors.
“We must act quickly because climate change is outpacing our efforts. There will be no more pilot studies or small-scale experiments. We need to go one step further.”
There has been a change in the climate
The analysis projects that by the 2080s, vast areas of northeastern Ontario, including essential cities like Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and North Bay could experience up to 55 days a year with temperatures above +30, up from 10 days currents in which that temperature is reached.
Likewise, winters will be significantly warmer.
According to the analysis, the number of days with temperatures below -25 could be cut in half along the James Bay coast, to around 20. When it’s this cold, other parts of northern Ontario may only get a few days of snow per year.
Warmer winters will result in significantly less snow. Winter precipitation in northeastern Ontario currently takes the form of rain 0% to 30% of the time, but in 60 years, it could increase to 40% to 60%.
Infrastructure is in danger
The Climate Risk Institute warns that with changing weather patterns and the increasing risk of wildfires and flooding, critical public services may be disrupted for extended periods.
This includes the winter roads that villages in the far north depend on and roads, railways and water treatment plants, which could be inundated by floodwaters and cause pollution.
Experts estimate that substantial investment in new hydroelectric lines will be needed across northern Ontario to help electrify vehicles and other businesses.
Still, this document also warns that changes in weather patterns can cause regular blackouts and brownouts.
The changing environment for plants and animals
The Climate Risk Institute anticipates that northern Ontario’s ecosystem will continue to change as the climate warms, with some species disappearing and others increasing.
According to the article, warmer winters and reduced snow cover could lead to a reduction in the moose population and an increase in the population of white-tailed deer, which are also expected to be found much further north in the 20s. 2080.
Warmer water could also affect populations of the prized sport fish pike, better known as walleye, hurting northern Ontario’s tourism economy, which traditionally relies on American visitors.
Experts also believe that certain species, such as the dusky salamander and woodland caribou, could become extinct in the north.
What is in the swamp that keeps the secret?
The research suggests various remedies and activities that the province could take, some anchored in the north.
It sees an “unprecedented opportunity” to build a “protected area network” of peatlands and boreal forests in northern Ontario, where there is still a large amount of relatively pristine wilderness.
According to Douglas, these lands would provide vitally needed animal habitat, especially for those whose migration options may be limited, and a massive carbon storage region.
“The more we do now to lock in carbon, the more opportunities we will have to build resilience and slow climate change so we don’t have to worry about it continuing,” he says.
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