In November 2012, the City released a new report: Toronto's Future Weather & Climate. The report predicts some severe and alarming weather patterns for Toronto by the year 2040, based on current global warming trends. Since the report was published, TEA has been advocating for investment in Toronto's infrastructure to prepare for severe weather.
The Report: 40 Days Over 40°C by 2040
This first-of-its-kind report looked specifically at the city of Toronto and how rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will affect temperature and severe weather events in Toronto.
As expected, the report predicts winters will get warmer, and summer storms will get more severe. But some unexpected and frightening results were also noted.
In particular, Toronto's summers will become extremely hot.
Toronto will see:
40 days per year with a humidex over 40˚C (current average is 9 days per year)
180 days when it's 24˚C or higher for 24 hours (which means air conditioning is needed). Today it's 30 days per year
5 heat waves per year (3 or more consecutive days of 32˚C or higher), instead of one heat wave every two years
More summer rain: 80% more summer rain in July, 50% more in August
Extreme rain storms will be three times bigger: 166mm in 24 hours from the current 66mm.
Torontonians and our physical infrastructure are not ready for this hot and stormy weather.
In terms of heat, many people live in homes and apartments that are difficult to cool, and our electricity system is too fragile to deal with the increased demand as more people use air conditioning. We've already seen the impact of an over-taxed electricity system with brown-outs and blackouts in recent years.
In terms of rain and storms, Toronto's sewer infrastructure is already struggling to deal with rain storms. Bigger storms will only cause more basement floods, and wash-outs of roads and bridges. In addition to infrastructure damage, the high volume of water will cause combined-sewer overflows and sewage treatment bypasses, releasing raw sewage directly into our rivers and lake.
Learn more about TEA's work on severe weather and climate change.