Rural Development Institute: December 2016 E-Focus

RDI December 2016 E-Focus

Weather, Climate & Community Action

As we head into winter, the ski season conversations often turn to the weather. How hot or cold it is, the amount of snow that has (or has not) fallen, and how what we see is the same or different from what we remember from years past, are all common topics. It is always a good idea to keep in mind the difference between weather – the short term conditions you see outside, and climate – the long term trend.1

Winter is an important season in the Columbia Basin-Boundary, not only for our love of the amazing outdoor opportunities, but because snow accumulation is an important contributor to the volume and timing of stream flow, as well as a contributor to drinking water sources. The majority of surface runoff in the region comes from snowmelt.2 The amount of snowfall is determined by weather conditions, and with the continued progression of climate change, snowfall patterns are expected to change.3

While climate change is a complicated topic, there are many opportunities for local action, particularly around adaptation. The RDI has recently released three knowledge briefs, short summaries of key points and resources, related to climate change adaptation. Part I tackles the question of what is adaptation and how is adaptation done. Part II looks specifically at the challenges rural communities face when it comes to climate change adaptation and offers examples and resources. Lastly, Part III is all about implementation, with several case studies, an appendix of key resources, and links to videos created by Columbia Basin Trust to communicate climate change science.

The RDI is currently working with the cities of Rossland and Kimberley on Phase 1 of an applied research project that is exploring communities adapting to climate change. This project is testing and evaluating the State of Climate Adaptation and Resilience in the Basin (SoCARB) indicator suite. At the end of Phase 1, the two cities will have a baseline report that presents the current conditions and trends for the indicators prioritized as being important locally. Indicators are divided into five different groups: water supply, wildfire, extreme weather and emergency preparedness, flooding, and agriculture.

The goal is to track these indicators over time, helping to inform decisions and evaluate what’s working and what’s not. Additionally, at the end of Phase 1, the RDI will have a guide to help other communities through this process. This guide will be further tested and refined in Phase 2 of the project. Any communities (municipalities or regional districts) interested in being a pilot for Phase 2 can contact Sarah Breen at sbreen@selkirk.ca.

For more information on the project visit RDI’s Climate Change Adaptation research page.

References and Resources
1. NASA. NASA – What’s the Difference Between Weather and Climate? (2005). Available at: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html. (Accessed: 1st December 2016)
2. Columbia Basin Trust. Water in the Columbia Basin. (2011). Available at: http://thebasin.ourtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/delightful-downloads/CBT_Water_Brochure.pdf. (Accessed: 27th November 2016)
3. Schnorbus, M., Werner, A. & Bennett, K. Impacts of climate change in three hydrologic regimes in British Columbia, Canada. Hydrol. Process. 28, 1170–1189 (2014).

Upcoming…

January 18, 2017 – T1FF DATA WEBINAR

February 9, 2017 – RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE IN A CHANGING CLIMATE

June 19-20, 2017 – LEARNING EVENT: Learning Region
Symposium in Nelson

September 20-24, 2017 – CANADIAN RURAL REVITALIZATION CONFERENCE in the Basin-Boundary region.

Have you Heard?

The latest Rural Routes podcast episode looks at solving housing issues in rural and remote places, focusing on examples from Alaska.

http://www.cbrdi.ca/