Climate change and Alberta flooding?

by Dianne Saxe on June 27, 2013

My heart goes out to the people of Calgary and elsewhere in Alberta whose lives have been turned upside down by last week’s catastrophic floods, (including our friends and family members). But my mind also goes back to Natural Resources Canada’s 2007 and 2010 reports on climate change, understandably understated given the frank hostility of their political masters. For example, here is an excerpt from the 2010 report, highlighting climate change risks for the Prairies:

“Regional Issues

Water shortages and increased aridity are the key climate change concerns on the Prairies…

Climate change will also be associated with periods of too much water. Flooding, resulting from high-intensity rainfalls and/or rapid snow melt, is also expected to become more common. Flood control will be a significant issue, particularly in urban areas. Standing waters following flood periods, in association with warmer temperatures, could foster the spread of vector- and water-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus…”

Meanwhile, Yellowknife sweltered at 35 degrees C all weekend, amid growing evidence of the havoc being caused by melting permafrost and the loss of Arctic sea ice.

I keep wondering what it will take for our federal government to take climate change seriously. Will the Great Calgary Flood be a turning point?

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