Climate Change in the Watershed

Winter scene of bare trees covered in snow around in pond.

The Watershed is Changing

Climate change often brings up visions of extreme heat, drought and flooding during spring and summer, but the effects can also be seen throughout the winter. In the Credit River Watershed winter is warming faster than the other seasons.

Since the mid-1900s, the average annual air temperature in the Credit River Watershed has increased 1.8 degrees Celsius (double the global increase), while the winter temperature has increased 2.5 degrees Celsius. By 2050 the average annual air temperature is projected to increase an additional 2 degrees Celsius on top of the current increase, with winter months continuing to warm the fastest. These changes can affect our day-to-day life, winter recreation and our gardens.

We will still have some cold wintery weather and our winters will continue to vary year to year, but there are some trends we are likely to see in the future:

  • Increase in winter rainfall
  • Increase in the intensity of storms
  • Fewer extreme cold days
  • More frequent freeze-thaw cycles

This winter’s roller coaster weather may be illustrating some of these trends. Although it started with a deep freeze and blizzard conditions that interrupted many holiday plans, since then, we’ve had large temperature fluctuations bringing us periods of heavy rain and substantial snowfall. All this up and down can be stressful to the natural environment including your gardens.

What Can you Do?

Learn more about climate change in our watershed by checking out our Story Map Collection.

Build resilience into your landscape by planting a diversity of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers and grasses, and placing the right plant in the right spot.

Add a rain garden or soakaway to your property to build flood resilience.

Help keep storm drains clear of ice and debris, monitor flood conditions and heed warnings to stay away from overburdened creeks and flooded areas.

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