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  • Adapting to Climate Change: an Introduction

    to a New Initiative in British Columbia

    Stewart J. Cohen

    Environment Canada and University of British Columbia,

    Vancouver, British Columbia

    January 27, 2010

  • Outline

    • Why is climate change an urgent challenge for regional planning?

    • Regional Adaptation Collaborative—RAC

  • Carbon Dioxide Trends

    Source: US NOAA, 2008

  • Source: US NSIDC (2007) and Cohen (1997)

    Observed changes in

    Arctic sea ice, 1979-

    2008 and permafrost

    thaw and landslide near

    Tuktoyaltuk

    September 1979

    September 2007

  • The Mountain Pine Beetle—British Columbia (photo of 2009 Kelly Creek fire (Prince George region) from

    http://bcwildfire.ca)

  • Mountain Pine Beetle (dentroctonus ponderosae Hopkins)

    Outbreak (suitability maps from Carroll et al., 2004)

    • worst outbreak in history (2008: 13.5 million ha)

    – linked to climate change (warming

    winters) & management practices (fire

    suppression, age  )

    • current response:

    – Rapid harvest  long term

    maladaptation?

    • future projection? Implications for hydrology?

    Additional info

    from BCMOF,

    and Walker &

    Sydneysmith,

    2007

  • Carbon Dioxide Trends (left) & Climate Trends (right)

    Source: US NOAA, 2008; IPCC, 2007

  • 10

    BC Winters became less cold

    Winters in the interior warmed by 2.5-3.5C

    Winters on the coast warmed by 1.0-2.0C

  • 11

    Historic summer temperature trends vary by location in BC.

    Summers in southern BC warmed by 1.0-2.5oC

    Summers on the coast cooled by up to 1.5C

  • Scenario A1B scenario changes over North America.

    Top row: Temperature change (oC) between 1980–1999 and 2080–2099, averaged

    over 21 models. Bottom row: same for change in precipitation (%) (IPCC 2007, WGII—CH. 15, slide from Linda Mortsch).

  • Annual Mean Temperature (present

    to 2050s)

    • Based on a moderate scenario of future climate

    change

  • produced by PCIC for Walker & Sydneysmith (2007)

    Precipitation trends & scenarios in BC

  • 15

    2A01A - Canoe River - Apr 1st SWE

    910 m, 1941-2006

    0

    50

    100

    150

    200

    250

    300

    1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

    1C01 - Brookmere - April 1st Snow Water Equivalent (Elevation = 980 metres)

    1945 - 2006

    0

    50

    100

    150

    200

    250

    300

    350

    400

    450

    1945 1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005

    S no

    w W

    at er

    E qu

    iv al

    en t (

    m m

    )

    1D08 - Stave Lake - April 1st Snow Water Equivalent

    (Elevation = 1210 metres)

    1968 - 2006

    0

    200

    400

    600

    800

    1000

    1200

    1400

    1600

    1800

    2000

    2200

    2400

    2600

    2800

    3000

    1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005

    Year

    S no

    w W

    at er

    E qu

    iv al

    en t

    (m m

    )

    1C08 - Nazko - Apr 1st Snow Water Equivalent

    1070 m, 1957-2006

    0

    20

    40

    60

    80

    100

    120

    140

    160

    1955 1965 1975 1985 1995 2005

    -44% since 1945

    - 73% since 1957 - 53% since 1951

    -19% since 1968

    Nazko (Fraser Plateau)

    Brookmere (Nicola) Stave Lake (lower Fraser)

    Canoe River (Upper Fraser)

    Spring Snowpack Declined Across

    B.C.,1940s/50s – 2006 (slide from Jenny Fraser)

  • Projected

    Spring

    Snowpack

    Decline

    (present to

    2050s)

  • CC Impacts—Changes in Statistics

    • Small changes in mean or extremes can yield large changes in risk

    • Damages (fire, wind, flood) likely to increase exponentially

    • Infrastructure sensitive to – Rate of climate change

    – Changes in mean climate (weathering)

    – Changes in extremes (thresholds/failure)

    – Adaptive capacity (ability to plan, respond, design, maintain)

    • Balance between safety, reliability and cost of design

    • Changes in health/disease risk? – Heat waves

    – Flooding/sewer overflow/boil orders

    – Vectors/West Nile, etc. (source: Karl et al., 2008)

  • 6 key messages – BC Chapter (Walker &

    Sydneysmith) of National Assessment (2007)

    1. Costs of CC impacts & extreme events are increasing and will continue

    2. Summer water shortages increasingly frequent & severe

    3. BC’s critical infrastructure faces immediate threats &  long-term costs

    4. BC’s natural resource sectors & dependent communities are vulnerable to increasing risks

    5. Vulnerabilities & adaptive capacity vary widely across BC’s regions & economic sectors

    6. Integrating CC adaptation into decision- making is an opportunity to  long-term impacts & costs

    http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/2007

  • Outline

    • Why is climate change an urgent challenge for regional planning?

    • Regional Adaptation Collaborative—RAC

  • Building the science-policy bridge…

    • Dialogue with researchers and local

    experts/practitioners as

    part of climate change

    adaptation assessment

    • This is 2-way knowledge exchange, not a 1-way

    outreach process

    • Experts become extension agents for local

    adaptation (and enable

    mitigation…)

    Okanagan climate change study team visit

    to Penticton Dam, June 2002 (Cohen et

    al., 2004; Cohen and Neale, 2006)

  • Regional Adaptation Collaborative (RAC)

    • Facilitate collaboration to enable planning for adapting to climate change

    – Shared learning: researchers, local practitioners/planners and

    decision makers

    • Funding from Natural Resources Canada – RAC programs throughout the country

    – Funding for 2-year projects, 2010-2012

    • BC program organized by BC MOE; coordinated by Fraser Basin Council

    – Focus on water resources, forestry, community planning

  • RAC-BC Projects

    • Water allocation and use – Okanagan water supply and demand, Okanagan irrigation,

    Vancouver Island water management planning

    • Forest and land management – Protecting fisheries, forest management planning

    • Floodplain management – Floodplain management tools, floodplain planning in Delta

    • Community adaptation – 6 case studies

  • Conclusion

    • Climate change is creating challenges (and maybe opportunities) for forestry in British Columbia

    • The RAC program offers support for shared learning between researchers and local practitioners and

    decision makers

    • This is complementary to other British Columbia initiatives in adaptation

    – BCMOF--Future Forest Ecosystem Science Council (FFESC)

    projects

    – Columbia Basin Trust: Communities Adapting to Climate

    Change (www.cbt.org)

    http://www.cbt.org/

  • for further information…

    • Environment Canada climate change website: http://www.ec.gc.ca/climatechange

    • Natural Resources Canada—RAC website:

    http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/collab/

    • BC Future Forest Ecosystem Science Council:

    http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hts/future_forests/council

    • Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC): http://www.pacificclimate.org

    http://www.ec.gc.ca/climatechange http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/collab/ http://www.pacificclimate.org/

  • HARRY NELSON U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A

    W I L L I A M S L A K E , B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A

    C I T Y H A L L , C O M M I T T E E R O O M N O . 1

    2 7 J A N U A R Y , 2 0 1 0

    Harry Nelson 27 January, 2010RAC San Jose Watershed

    Regional Adaptation Collaborative San Jose Watershed

  • Overview

    Harry Nelson 27 January, 2010RAC San Jose Watershed

     Introduction-why are we here?  Project team  Why we’re looking at the San Jose watershed  Project details  Expected outcomes  How can we work

    together?

  • Introduction

    Harry Nelson 27 January, 2010RAC San Jose Watershed

     This process started back in May of 2008

     Involved a competitive process with successful ones combined into one proposal

     Original emphasis was on water issues-we saw an opportunity to bring forests  From the January 25, 2010 press release

     The forest and watershed management initiative will develop tools and improve existing regulations to help developers and resource managers maintain aquatic values of fisheries sensitive watersheds and streams in forested and urban watersheds affected by climate change.

     http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media/newcom/2010/201

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