Warmer winters, warmer summers, more extreme storms: a detailed study just released by the City forecasts Toronto’s weather patterns in the 2040s.
As Torontonians prepare for another season of slogging through snow drifts and stumbling through 5 p.m. darkness, an expert analysis of Toronto’s future weather patterns holds out some hope for more pleasant days ahead. By 2040, according to a study commissioned by the City, global climate change will ensure that we have something like 26 fewer days with snowfall each year, while Toronto’s average winter temperature will be about 5.7 degrees higher.
The study, put together by SENES Consultants Ltd. in cooperation with the Toronto Environment Office, is meant to give City officials some idea of what the local climate will be like in 30 years so they can better plan long-term maintenance of Toronto’s infrastructure. A report on the study’s findings goes before the City’s Parks and Environment Committee on November 9.
SENES used different climate modelling techniques to build a picture of Toronto’s expected weather patterns over the span of time between the years 2040 and 2049. The less-snow-in-winter prediction is one of the more cheerful ones. Less exciting is the study’s summertime prediction: namely, that Toronto will see an average 3.8 degree increase in warm-weather temperature. That would mean more sweltering days, especially for anyone who doesn’t have air conditioning. (That is, unless by 2040 we’re all walking around inside clouds of nanomachines that fan us with microscopic palm fronds.)
Also not so great: though the study predicts a slight decrease in the number of storms that will occur in Toronto each year, it also predicts an uptick in occurrences of very intense storms. Right now, according to SENES, Toronto expects a maximum of 66 millimetres of rainfall in any one day. For 2040, the study pegs that figure at 166 millimetres.
Some other predictions from the report:
- We will have 26 fewer snow days per year, 9 fewer in December.
- There will be more rain and less snow in winter; overall precipitation will increase slightly.
- The average annual temperatures will increase by 4.4 degrees.
- Average wind speeds will stay the same, but maximum wind speeds will go down, as will occurrences of wind chill.
- Our maximum humidex will go from 48 to 57 degrees.
- The average number of annual heat waves (more than 3 consecutive days of temperatures greater than 32 degrees) is expected to increase from 0.57 to 5.
Read the full study here.
This post originally misspelled the name of the consulting company that led the described study. It’s SENES Consultants Ltd., not SENSES Consultants Ltd.