Friday, November 24, 2017

Canada seeks updated climate change predictions to revamp building codes

The National Research Council says Canada’s homes and highways were built with assumptions about weather patterns that are no longer relevant, thanks to climate change.

Now the NRC is asking for help to figure out what kind of weather to expect in the coming years, so it can revamp national building codes to ensure everything from houses and office towers to bridges and wastewater systems can withstand the consequences of a warmer planet.

“Canada’s buildings and public infrastructure systems … are designed based on historic data assuming a stationary climate, and were not designed to accommodate certain extreme weather events being attributed to climate change,” reads a Nov. 6 tender issued by the council.

“As such, there is a growing risk of failure of buildings and infrastructure.”

From melting permafrost and coastal erosion due to higher sea levels in the north, to the unusual warmth and dryness of the summer in British Columbia this year, experts say Canada has already started to bear witness to the effects of climate change.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned about the increasing frequency of extreme weather last spring while he was touring homes in western Quebec damaged by the engorged Ottawa River.

Keep reading in The Globe and Mail