The mountain pine beetle may not be the only undesirable species to exploit warming temperatures in B.C. as a result of projected climate change.

Scientists project warmer, wetter winters for B.C.

Climate change forecasts point to earlier runoff, potential summer water supply problems

Climate change will likely mean warmer, rainier winters in B.C. as well as reduced summer stream flows, a forum in Vancouver heard Monday as new international findings were released.

Dr. Francis Zwiers, director of the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) and vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group 1, said projections for B.C. point to further warming of 2.9 degrees in the winter and 2.4 degrees in the summer by 2100, under a moderate carbon emission scenario.

Winter warming on that scale could translate into 17 to 51 more days per year of frost-free conditions, he told the forum, in the wake of the already measured reduction of 24 annual frost days since 1900 and a 2.1-degree increase in the province’s winter temperatures.

While a longer growing season might be a boon to gardeners and farmers, Zwiers noted warming winters have also allowed unwanted species like the mountain pine beetle to flourish and wreak havoc on Interior forests.

“That’s an impact that has been linked to a changing climate,” Zwiers said.

“You can just imagine there would be many other organisms that would find B.C. to be a much more hospitable place to live, even in a slightly warmer climate than we have at the moment, or a slightly wetter climate than we have at the moment.”

PCIC researchers projected climate changes in B.C. over the rest of this century using the same models as the IPCC.

Winter warming would be greater in the northeast than other parts of the province, while summer warming projections are roughly uniform.

Zwiers said the modeling shows winter, spring and fall precipitation will increase in B.C., with a 10 per cent increase in precipitation in winters expected and summers potentially getting wetter in the north but drier in the south.

Wetter, warmer winters could affect the province’s supply of water for drinking, farming, power generation and salmon migration.

With less water being stored as snow over the winter, Zwiers said, B.C. can expect higher amounts of winter and spring runoff, leaving less behind in the upper elevations to deliver water in summer.

The new IPCC report reiterated that the planet is warming and people are the probable cause.

But some observers criticized it for downgrading projected temperature increases due to a 15-year “pause” in average surface temperature rise.

Zwiers maintained human influence is clear and action is urgently needed to both reduce emissions and adapt to expected “substantial” impacts.

The IPCC report predicts Canada will face more warming than the global average, along with more frequent and more intense extreme weather events.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

New Oak Bay bylaw supports planting 5,000 new trees

Residents can share thoughts on new tree protection bylaw at Jan. 29 open house

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Intense winds en route to Greater Victoria

Winter storm warning in effect for east and west regions while wind warning to hit south and north

Most Read