Community Guide to Climate Change

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The Municipality of South Huron has developed South Huron's Climate Change Adaptation Strategy thanks to the financial support provided by the Government of Canada through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP)

As part of the adaptation strategy, the Community Guide to Understanding and Responding to Climate Change was created and is intended to provide a non-technical overview of climate change and how the community can respond. We have also generated a Climate Change Resource Library (organized by topic) to help individuals and businesses access resources of interest. 

Cover of Community Guide to Understanding Climate Change and How to Respond documentCommunity Guide to Understanding and Responding to Climate Change

If you would like to view the full Community Guide to Understanding and Responding to Climate Change document, please contact Stacey Jeffery, Climate Change Officer by email or by phone 519-235-0310 extension 247.

Explore the Community Guide to Understanding and Responding to Climate Change below: 

What is climate change?
When understanding climate change, it is important to decipher climate and weather, as they are often falsely understood as equivalent.
  • Weather refers to the variation in short-term atmospheric conditions (temperature, wind, precipitation, humidity, and cloud cover) that occur from minutes to weeks.
  • Climate on the other hand refers to weather patterns averaged over a period of time, typically 30 years or more.

The exact future climate depends on global greenhouse gas emissions. Projections of future changes provide a range of possibilities based on scenarios of low to high global emissions. 

What we do know: our temperature will continue to warm, precipitation and seasonal patterns will continue to change and changes to the duration, frequency and severity of extreme events. 

What does climate change mean for South Huron? 

Aligned with observed global changes, South Huron's climate is also changing and will have a continued impact on local weather, environment, economy and the entire community. 

In general, South Huron’s future climate will include warming temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, a shift in seasonal changes and changes in the duration, frequency, and severity of extreme weather events.

Explore future climate projections for South Huron below:

Some notes about understanding future climate projections:

  • Data for South Huron's future climate projections was retrieved from Climate Atlas
  • Future Scenario: A high emissions scenario was used where greenhouse gas emissions globally increase at current rates to the end of the century.
  • Projection Periods: Immediate future refers to the period of 2021 to 2050. Near future refers to the period of 2015 to 2080. 
  • Baseline Period: The period of 1978 to 2005 was used as the baseline to quantify the anticipated future projections.  
Temperature Projections for South Huron 
Temperature Projections for South Huron
Variable Projection Baseline Immediate Future Near Future

Annual Temperature

(Average in degrees Celsius)

Increase 7.8 degrees Celsius 9.9 degrees Celsius 12 degrees Celsius

Winter Temperature

(Average in degrees Celsius)

Increase -4.6 degrees Celsius -2.3 degrees Celsius 0.1 degrees Celsius

Very Hot Days

(Number of days per year where the temperature greater than 30 degrees Celsius)

Increase 11 days per year 29 days per year 56 days per year

Winter Days*

(Number of days per year where the temperature at least -15 degrees Celsius)

Decrease 15.4 days per year 6.5 days per year 1.8 Days per year
  • *The winter season will experience greatest temperature increase.  

Precipitation Projections for South Huron

Precipitation Projections for South Huron
 Variable  Projection  Baseline Immediate Future  Near Future

Annual Total Precipitation

(% change) 

 Increase  937 millimetres  6% increase  9% increase

Spring Precipitation

(% change) 

 Increase  220 millimetres  10% increase  16% increase

Winter Precipitation

(% change)  

 Increase  235 millimetres   10% increase   16% increase
  • Increase in maximum 1-day and 5-day precipitation amounts
  • More precipitation falling as rain and freezing rain and less falling as snow 
Seasonal Changes Projections for South Huron
Seasonal Changes Projections for South Huron
Variable Projection Baseline Immediate Future Near Future

Frost Free Season

(Number of days per year)

Increase  170 days per year  194 days per year  218 days per year

Annual Freeze-Thaw Cycles*

(% change)

Decrease  Not applicable  9%  22%

January & February Freeze-Thaw Cycles*

(% change)

Increase  Not applicable  10%  20%

First Fall Frost

(Calendar Date)

Later  October 22  November 4  November 17

Last Spring Frost

(Calendar Date)

Earlier  May 3  April 20  April 10
  • *Although the annual freeze-thaw cycles are projected to decrease, due to changes in winter temperatures, freeze-thaw cycles for January are projected to increase. 
Extreme Weather Events Projections for South Huron
  • Increase in freezing rain, ice, and snow events, particularly in January and February
  • Increase wind gusts for all of Southern Ontario
  • Increase in heavy rainfall and drought extremes
  • Increase in heatwave length (number of days)
  • Increase in number of heatwave events per year 

 

Responding to climate change: adaptation and mitigation
Responding to climate change can be described using two approaches: adaptation and mitigation.
  • Adaptation is an action that adjusts practices, processes or structures in response to the unavoidable impacts, either opportunities or threats, caused by climate change. Examples of adaptation actions including flood protection measures, infrastructure and building design and upgrades, and other preventative and precautionary measures. 
  • Mitigation refers to measures implemented to reduce the contributing sources of climate change (e.g. GHG emissions reduction) that contribute to the unavoidable impacts. Examples of mitigation actions include sustainable and efficient transportation, renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

Some mutual actions which address both adaptation and mitigation include educational programs, natural infrastructure and urban forests, water and energy conservation and local food systems. 

The most effective response to climate change includes efforts of both adaptation and mitigation, designed to work concurrently and not to undermine or replace each other.

Mitigation and Adaptation Action Examples

How is the Municipality responding to climate change?

With funding received from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, we have developed the South Huron Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and this Community Guide to Understanding and Responding to Climate Change to help the community understand what climate change means for South Huron and how we can respond.

As outlined in the adaptation strategy, our vision is to create A future-ready South Huron that is resilient to the impacts of a changing climate.

Based on the impacts from climate change identified for South Huron, a series of eight (8) goals were developed along with adaptation action items to address each goal:

  • Goal 1: Integrate climate change adaptation into municipal planning, asset management and operations;
  • Goal 2: Support municipal and community resilience awareness and action;
  • Goal 3: Ensure community readiness and a coordinated response to extreme weather events;
  • Goal 4: Reduce risks to buildings, properties and people from flooding;
  • Goal 5: Minimize disruption to municipal service delivery;
  • Goal 6: Reduce health and safety risks to municipal workers and community members from extreme temperatures;
  • Goal 7: Protect and enhance the natural landscape to mitigate impact; and
  • Goal 8: Strengthen the resiliency of municipal infrastructure and facilities. 
 
How can the community respond to climate change?
 
Adaptation Actions (actions that respond to the unavoidable impacts from climate change)
  • Learn about ways to protect your home from flooding by visiting the Home Flood Protection Program (Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation).
  • Learn about on-site stormwater management options for your property that also can provide a range of environmental benefits, such as installing a Rain Barrel to store rainwater or Rain Garden to control and disperse it (Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority).
    • BONUS: Retain and enhance the natural features on your property – they will help to hold water during rainfall events while providing many other benefits.
  • Ensure you have an emergency plan in place for your home or business in the event of extreme weather. Get Prepared (Government of Canada) has everything you need in order to make a plan.
  • Planning a renovation or new building? Consider the type of materials used in your project and how they will stand up to a changing climate.
    • Design areas to consider: basement (flooding), insulation, heating, cooling (warming temperature), exterior materials and structural (extreme weather), and driveway material (rainfall events and warming temperature). 
Mitigation Actions (actions that reduce the contributing sources of climate change)
  • Calculate your Carbon Footprint (how much greenhouse gas emissions your lifestyle releases) by visiting Carbon Footprints to Forests
    • BONUS: You can make a donation for trees to be planted by your local Conservation Authority OR plant a tree on your property to offset your impact! 
  • Consider completing an Energy Audit for your home or business to identify areas of inefficiency and potential rebate programs to help complete efficiency upgrades. These upgrades will save you money on your heating and cooling costs, provide greater comfort in your home or business and increase the value of your building.
  • Reduce your transportation emissions and improve your overall health by leaving your car at home and participate in Active Transportation, whether it be on your bike, skateboard, walking or running.  Other options for reducing your impact: car sharing to your destination or investing in an efficient vehicle (electric or hybrid).
  • Support climate mitigation initiatives happening in your community. These initiatives are dedicated to ensuring a better future for our community by reducing our impact on the planet.

 

Currently, the Municipality is exploring ways to mitigate corporate emissions.

Helpful terms you should know
Adaptation is an action that adjusts practices, processes or structures in response to the unavoidable impacts, either opportunities or threats, caused by climate change. The goal of effective adaptation is to anticipate the impacts ahead of time (proactive) rather than after the impacts have been experienced (reactive).

Climate change refers to a significant variation to long-term (typically decades or longer) change in climate (global or regional) which reflects changes in weather patterns, including an increase in temperature, fluctuating precipitation patterns and extreme weather events.

Global Warming refers to the long-term warming in temperature observed on a global scale. Global warming is one aspect of climate change. The primary source of global warming is in the increase of greenhouse gases (GHGs) released into the atmosphere by human-made activities which burn fossil fuels including transportation, manufacturing and electricity. Natural sources of GHG emissions include volcanic activity, the Earth’s orbit, and the solar output.

The Greenhouse Effect refers to the buildup and long term presence of GHGs in the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere becomes thicker which traps the sun’s radiation (heat), making the Earth’s air temperature warmer.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) refers to gases that have the property of trapping heat or longwave radiation in the atmosphere that was radiated from Earth, contributing to the greenhouse effect (see definition). The following gases are considered a greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases (synthetic gases).

Mitigation refers to measures implemented to reduce the contributing sources of climate change (ex. GHG emissions reduction) that contribute to the unavoidable impacts.

Resilience refers to the capability to respond and recover to change or disruption while maintaining an acceptable level of service or functionality.

Weather refers to the variation in short-term atmospheric conditions (temperature, wind, precipitation, humidity, cloud cover) that occur from minutes to weeks. 

Learn more about climate change

Climate Change Resource Library

Want to learn more about specific topics related to climate change action? Browse our library of resources below, organized by topic. 

Adaptation
Air Quality
Agriculture and Forestry
Climate Change Basics
Coastal Environment
Energy
Fleet and Transportation
Infrastructure
Mitigation
Natural Environment
Public Health
Students and Youth
Water 
Waste 

About our project partners

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is a voice for municipalities across Canada. They provide support to strengthen communities and to ensure the needs are reflected in federal policies and programs.  With funding from the Government of Canada, the FCM launched the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program (MCIP). The MCIP is a five-year $75-million program aimed at providing assistance to more than 600 municipalities in responding to climate change for the protection of citizens, environment and the economy.

Contact(s)

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We work hard to ensure that everyone can access the information and services they need.

For information in alternative formats or assistance accessing information, please contact the Municipal Office at 519-235-0310. 

© 2020 The Municipality of South Huron, 322 Main Street South P.O. Box 759 Exeter, ON N0M 1S6