Climate Projections Report Completed for the Okanagan Region

Okanagan falls landscape

Climate change is challenging our ecosystems, communities, and our economy. Wildfires, flooding, and drought have already challenged local infrastructure, caused economic losses, and posed health risks to communities. This is why the Regional Districts of the North, Central and Okanagan-Similkameen have partnered with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Pinna Sustainability and developed a Climate Projections report for the region. 

This report is intended to support a local understanding of how our climate is projected to change and inform regional planning on how to prepare for future climate events. In particular, climate projections for both the 2050s and the 2080s have been identified. Findings indicate that the Okanagan can expect significant changes to climate in the coming decades, including:

  •          Warmer temperatures year-round;
  •          Summers will be considerably hotter;
  •          Increased duration of growing season;
  •          Warmer winter temperatures;
  •          Increased precipitation across all seasons except summer;
  •          Summer is expected to remain the driest season, and become drier; and
  •          We can expect shifting seasons.

“This report is one of the most important tools we have in preparing for our future as a region,” said Kevin Acton, RDNO Chair. “We need action now, and through this report, we have a clearer idea of what to expect and how to adapt for the longevity of our communities.”

"The modelling projections being completed by the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium will help local governments prepare for a range of possible scenarios," says RDOS Chair Karla Kozakevich. "This report will also provide valuable data about the potential environmental and economic challenges impacting the Okanagan in the coming decades."

RDCO Chair Gail Given adds, “We’ve all seen the impact climate change is having on our environment and economy. The Climate Projections Report lays the groundwork for everyone to respond and act in a meaningful way to help mitigate the potential challenges in the years ahead.”

The Climate Projections report can be accessed on the RDNO website

Those interested in learning more about this report are encouraged to attend the upcoming event “Building Community Resilience in a Changing Climate – an Evening with Sheila Watt-Cloutier and guests”. This event will feature a public launch of the Climate Projections Report for the Okanagan and provide an overview of how our climate is projected to change over the next 30-60 years. The event is set to take place on February 26, 2020, at the UBCO Commons Lecture Hall at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online. 

This project was made possible with support from Natural Resources Canada through the Adaptation Platform, the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s Water Conservation & Quality Improvement Grant Program and Fraser Basin Council.