Increased flooding and “extreme” heat days are just some of the negative impacts Peel Region faces with the threat of climate change.
According to a recent study by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC), their environmental monitoring data shows that Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon and Orangeville have seen an 1.75 C temperature increase over the last 80 years. This has resulted in a decline in the frequency and intensity of extreme cold days (below -10 C), and more precipitation has increased the risk of flooding.
“The intense July 2013 storm in Mississauga and Brampton is a prime example,” said Jason Igras, coordinator for water and climate change science at CVC. “The amount of rain each year has increased, and it’s concerning because now it’s concentrated within a few storms per year. What we’re seeing now is longer stretches of dry periods, but short duration of high intensity rainfall. The bulk of rain is coming in storms which increases the risk of flash flooding.”
There will also be more “extreme” heat days that result in more heat waves, creating environments favourable for more pests that carry pathogens like Lyme disease, damage to local food crops, and water shortages during periods of draught.
In urban centres like Peel, where there is rapid development taking place, Rosemary Keenan — an environmentalist and volunteer with Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s Peel chapter — said reducing emissions is a priority.
She said one way to do this is with district energy systems, which distribute thermal energy to multiple buildings in a neighbourhood or area.