Windsor has the lowest level of service for floodplain protection (100 year storm) while other regions have Hurricane Hazel (over 500 year storm) - so Windsor / Essex region will flood a lot more that other places. Also Windsor has been effectively tightening up their sanitary sewers to prevent spills to the river (reduced combined sewer overflows (CSOs)) which means more stays in the sewers and can back-up basements in extreme weather. Its a tough trade-off when environmental protection (keeping sewage out of the river) means more sewage in basements.
CBC Ombudsman confirms with ECCC, and disputes insurance industry statements that we have more storms (see letter to me):
And which had this correction made based on ECCC and real data: "However, Environment Canada says it has recently looked at the trends in heavy rainfall events and there were "no significant changes" in the Windsor region between 1953 and 2012." Canadian Underwriter editors dispute insurance industry statement on more frequent / severe storms after fact-checking with ECCC:
There are many false statements in this article and a lack of basic science, statistics or critical engineering considerations. I am a licensed Professional Engineer with extensive experience in extreme weather statistics and municipal infrastructure planning and design (26 years) - this article is like 100's of others, skimming the surface and missing the critical data and conclusions, reinforcing stale pundit talking points in the climate-change-echo-chamber. Please see below for what is wrong with the article.
My own fact checking of the Engineering Climate Datasets (version 2.3 on the ECCC ftp site) shows twice as many statistically significant decreases in southern Ontario as increases, and for the critical shortest durations, no statistically significant increases at all. Here is a review of the typical insurance industry statements and the real data:
Over the past two weeks I have correspondence from 3 scientists at ECCC stating that the annual precipitation statistic (climate) is irrelevant to urban flooding and the short duration rainfall (extreme weather) is what we should be looking at - across Canada the relevant data shows 'no detectable trend signal'. TVO should check the background of those providing information for these articles to see if the academic and practical experience aligned with the technical topic being discussed.
That was in response to this story that had no fact-checking:
Canadian Underwriter editors dispute insurance industry statement on more frequent / severe storms after fact-checking with ECCC:
"Associate Editor’s Note: In the 2012 report Telling the Weather Story, commissioned to the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Professor Gordon McBean writes: “Weather events that used to happen once every 40 years are now happening once every six years in some regions in the country.” A footnote cites “Environment Canada: Intensity-Duration-Frequency Tables and Graphs.” However, a spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change Canada told Canadian Underwriter that ECCC’s studies “have not shown evidence to support” this statement."
Its time for a lot more basic fact checking on climate change, extreme weather and flooding. There is too much 'thinking fast' and not enough 'thinking slow', as shown in this review of media reporting biases through the lens of Kahneman:
Mr Adams is correct is questioning Mr Kitts 'facts'. Because the official national Engineering Climate Datasets show no detectable trend in extreme rainfall in Canada. This was published in Atmosphere-Ocean in 2014 and looks at the critical short duration rainfall rain intensities that drive urban flooding. Here is a review that explore that national data in detail, drilling down to Ontario and southern Ontario trends and showing why insurance industry statements on higher weather frequency shifts were exposed to be 'made up' (confusing arbitrary future predictions with past observations):
Citing IPCC is irrelevant in the context of urban flooding in Ontario cities .. IPCC's definition of 'heavy rainfall' is the 95% percentile of daily rain with in Toronto is about 29 mm of rain - that is big for 'climate' but tiny for 'weather'. Typically storms have to be 3 times that big to cause urban flooding and most new communities are designed to handle 100-year design storms with built-in resiliency measures / safety factors to handle larger storms (if we see a hockey stick and get more extreme rain in the future).
It shows for example that 2017 Lake Ontario levels, while above average, were not very extreme looking back at 100 years of record (we exceeded past records by about 5 cm in some months which is naturally what happens with longer and longer records and the updated operating 'rule curves' for the lakes). It shows that the Richmond Hill GO Train was flooded in 1981 (just like 2013) in the exact same spot, even though the Ontario government suggests the 2013 flood was due to climate change. It shows that during the highest short duration rainfall recorded in Toronto in 1962 there was extensive basement and roadway flooding (this is not a new phenomenon at all). It shows numerous studies at the University of Guelph, University of Waterloo and major engineering consultants that Ontario extreme rainfall in decreasing and that extreme rainfall is not coupled to temperature changes. It shows significant urbanization in Oakville, Burlington and the rest of the Golden Horseshoe wince the 1960's and how we have paved up to the upper limit of the Burlington escarpment headwater watershed in that time - its hydrology that explains the increased flooding, not meteorology! This blog post shows the drainage paths in Burlington a little better than the OWWA WEAO presentation at the link above:
These change in hydrology and runoff potential are undeniable and dwarf any noise in the extreme rainfall statistics. The 'new normal' is in fact the 'old extremes' that we have always had .. the system response is more severe however with greater runoff into the same 50-100 year old infrastructure and confined channels along the lower portions of our watersheds. When it comes to urban flooding, only Milli Vanilli 'Blame it on the Rain'. Nobody cares about hydrology. Canada's greatest hydrologist Vit Klemes once lamented about this saying If you have not read it, please see his key note address to International Interdisciplinary Conference on Predictions for Hydrology, Ecology, and Water Resources Management: Using Data and Models to Benefit Society, entitled "Political Pressures in Water Resources Management. Do they influence predictions?"
Basically you could say that today on Ontario it is not unlike the communist Czech Republic that Dr Klemes describes in his address, where predictions (climate change) becomes prescriptions, despite the facts and data. And the media is so far out of touch that we cannot put the
Robert J. Muir, M.A.Sc., P.Eng.
Recently TVO aired a segment on extreme weather reporting and examined temperatures submitted by a viewer to show that Ottawa maximum temperatures have been decreasing using WeatherStats.ca data. See broadcast: https://www.tvo.org/video/climate-accuracy-activism-and-alarmism, and the transcript: https://www.tvo.org/transcript/2550125/climate-accuracy-activism-and-alarmism. This chart was questioned:
What does the TVO panelist chart miss? Maximum temperatures. The hot decades in the early 1900's. The following chart is based on Environment and Climate Change Canada's homogenized and adjusted data - they do not produce annual maximum daily temperatures so this picked the highest daily temperatures for each year, just like the TVO viewer charted using WeatherStats.ca data. Here is the official data maximums:
There is the same pattern and decreasing trend that the TVO panels dismissed! Maybe instead of inviting just lawyers and doctors as its panelists TVO could invite some engineers to comment on data that is most relevant to our profession?
The following chart shows that for all Ontario stations with trend data available summers are not warming as much as the winters - and Octobers are getting colder.
In Ottawa, data from the Ontario Centre for Climate Impacts and Adaptation Resources shows winter temperatures increasing, driven by the minimum increasing (as noted in a previous post):
|Winter temperatures have increased with climate change - Ottawa, 1939-2016|
Yet summer maximum temperatures have not increased at all (centre chart) - the mean (left chart) is increasing due to the minimum (right chart) increasing:
Other locations across Ontario have decreasing annual maximum temperatures since the 1930's as well. In Toronto the moving average 30 year annual maximum temperatures have decreased since the 1920's - the periods including the 1930's had high maximum temperatures:
Some Toronto temperatures changes may be explained by urban heat island (UHI) effects, meaning heat is absorbed by urban structures and surfaces, and is stored and radiated back. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that UHI explains a portion of the temperature increase by comparing trends with other rural climate stations not affected by UHI (see Tanzina thesis 2009). Tanzina summarized trends in temperatures by season showing that summer warm days decreased at many Toronto-area stations (highlighted climate stations):
What about across Canada? Other major cities such as Calgary have had decreasing annual maximum temperatures trends as well. This chart shows data from weatherstats.ca which no increase in maximum temperatures:
Environment and Climate Change Canada's homogenized and adjusted data for Alberta show a trend similar to Ontario, meaning warmer mean temperatures due mostly to warmer winters and not summers. These are mean temperature trends by month:
So summers are slightly warmer considering the mean and warmer minimums. But the maximum temperatures in summer (July) have DECREASED, and so have October and November maximum temperatures:
So the month with the highest temperatures is having a decrease in maximum temperature. The chart at right shows climate normals for Calgary, with July temperatures being the highest. This is good news that maximum temperatures in the hottest month are declining according to the official national climate datasets.
Ross McKitrick found some similar trends looking across Canada: https://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/temp_report.pdf
Some of his take-aways:
"4. Over the past 100 years, warming has been stronger in winter than summer or fall. October has cooled slightly. The Annual average daytime high has increased by about 0.1 degrees per decade. 72 percent of stations did not exhibit statistically significant warming or cooling.
5. Since 1939 there has been virtually no change in the median July and August daytime highs across Canada, and October has cooled slightly."
How about a look at July maximum temperatures in the Toronto area? Are summers getting hotter?
The adjusted and homogenized data are available from Environment and Climate Change Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/science-research-data/climate-trends-variability/adjusted-homogenized-canadian-data.html
To review, follow the "Surface air temperature" link and download the monthly data, i.e., the file Homog_monthly_max_temp.zip that includes all station data. The data can be evaluated to show trends over 100+ years in several cases.
The following chart shows the maximum daily temperatures in July, averaging all days, for climate stations in Welland, Vineland, Hamilton, Toronto, Peterborough and Belleville including records up to 100 years (2019-2018):