What is it?

Climate Change is a long term change in the average weather patterns that are typically measured over a period of 30 years. These changes are often reported globally referring to average long term changes over the entire earth, like the earth has warmed by approximately 1 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years.

What is causing climate change?

The causes of climate change have been attributed to changes in land use (i.e. deforestation) and increases in green house gas concentrations in the atmosphere that trap the energy of the sun around the earth. One of the main sources of green house gas concentrations comes from the burning of fossil fuels by humans for driving automobiles and use of electricity. The concentration of these gases has been in relation to the increased burning of fossil fuels by humans.

Is the climate changing locally?

People that have lived in the region for a long period of time are likely able to answer this question. However, as a lot of changes occur gradually many people learn to adapt and adjust. To help identify these changes we turn to climate monitoring stations that provide data over long periods of time. A monitoring station in the City of Belleville shows that the average annual temperature has warmed by 1.8 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years. Precipitation events also appear to be larger and more intense including more winter rain storms and extreme weather events.

Graph showing average yearly temperatures for the City of Belleville over a 100 year span

How are the future climate conditions predicted?

Scientists have developed computer programs called climate models to predict how the future climate of the earth may change. These models consider things like weather patterns, ocean currents, global population growth and levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

What does the future climate look like?

Climate models and projection of future climate for Ontario suggest that by 2050 the average annual temperature for the Quinte Region will rise by approximately 2 to 3 0 C (click graph 3) with average annual precipitation staying about the same. Clickable link to websites for future climate data

Graph predicting Belleville's future climate with scenario 1, high emissions and scenario 2, low emissions

Learn more about future Canadian climate conditions and how you can help: 

Along with these changes will come the potential for more extreme weather events such as intense rainfall, flooding, drought, extreme heat, erosion, microbursts, and more. The warming trend may also result in warmer winters with more winter rain and less snow as well as hotter and drier summers.

What is Quinte Conservation doing?

Quinte Conservation has been observing the effects of climate change throughout the watershed. The local water resources are already being impacted with more frequent occurrence of flooding, droughts, changing spring freshet conditions as well as impacts to water quality from warming water temperature. These effects are expected to worsen as we move into the future and the climate continues to warm.

In response to this challenge Quinte Conservation has developed a Climate Change Strategy to help guide how we address and deal with a changing climate.

Some of the activities that Quinte has undertaken include:

Climate change monitoring

Quinte Conservation monitors the water resources of the watershed to help assess changes to these resources and potential impacts from climate change. To do this an assessment of the vulnerability of the region to the impacts of climate change was completed. The assessment allowed for enhancements to the Quinte Conservation monitoring network which included a provincially significant climate change monitoring station as well as four other local stations.

Climate change monitoring station

These stations are in addition to many other existing monitoring stations which include groundwater, rain, stream flow, steam water quality, benthic. Recently new water level gauges have been added to many lakes throughout the watershed. These gauges will help in monitoring changes to lake levels but also in managing water levels in times of flooding and drought. The water levels for these gauges are available on our water levels viewer.

Climate change mitigation 

Changes to our reliance on fossil fuels is required to help slow the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. Quinte Conservation has been promoting the use of green energy and developed a local source of green energy by modifying an existing water level control structure on the Moira River in the City of Belleville. This facility was modified in 2007 and now provides green energy to homes in the City of Belleville.

Quinte Conservation has piloted various environmentally friendly vehicles including hybrid cars and most recently a 100% electric car, including the installation of a publicly available electric car charging station.

Electric vehicle

To help offset the emission of greenhouse gases the maintenance and planting of trees is essential and vital for clean air.  Quinte Conservation delivers stewardship programs to promote tree planting, naturalization of shorelines, and ways to help manage stormwater at your home. Quinte Conservation also maintain a large land base of properties with active forest management plans to help protect the watershed and provide natural areas.

Rain garden at Quinte Conservation's office

Climate change adaptation

Changes to our daily lifestyles and reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases will help slow the rate of climate change. However the climate is already changing and continues. This requires us to adapt as these changes occur. Quinte Conservation has reviewed guidelines for how land development is assessed, altered how dams are operated to adapt to a new flow regime, enhanced flood forecasting and drought warning programs to keep watershed residents more informed.

A drought management plan is currently being prepared to assist local Municipalities and watershed residents in adapting to a changing climate. Under this program a review of the local water sources and potential impacts from a changing climate have been completed to improve our understanding of the future of local water resources.

What can you do?

Climate change is a global problem and requires everyone on the planet to make changes to their daily lifestyles in order to reduce our impact on the environment. There are many resources of how this can be done but here a few simple things to consider:

  • Change everyday choices that result in burning of fossil fuels,
  • Leave cars at home, bike/walk to work, use public transit, work at home,
  • Buy local and eat a climate friendly diet,
  • Recycle,
  • Conserve water, install rain barrels and implement water recycling or re-use,
  • Use energy wisely and buy energy efficient appliances, cars, etc,
  • Choose renewable sources of energy to power your home and vehicles,
  • Plant trees and protect wetlands. vegetation helps promote groundwater recharge and also absorb carbon dioxide,
  • Talk about climate change with your friends and share information. Discuss ways that you can help, and
  • Lobby local governments to promote green initiatives in the community.