Thursday, July 11, 2013

This is what you call extreme weather, Toronto edition

The thunderstorms in Toronto earlier this week broke that city's seemingly unbreakable one-day rainfall record, set in 1954 by the meteorological oddity known as Hurricane Hazel.

4 comments:

Andrew Fox said...

Scientists have predicted that with climate change we will have more storms, as is proving true if you look at mass rainfall amounts in the City of Toronto. In 2005 another mass rainfall event happened where some gauges read over 150 mm of rain over a 3 hour period (http://riversides.org/rainguide/riversides_hgr.php?cat=1&page=78&subpage=82). The cost to the city to make repairs after both this storm and the storm on July 8th was enormous. Toronto’s infrastructure was built for 100 year storms like these back some time ago, but as development increases across the GTA, the runoff totals increase as well. Not only are the storms that the infrastructure was meant to handle getting stronger and more frequent, but their effects are also getting stronger with the increased runoff from increased development. If the region keeps developing without upgrading drainage infrastructure, the effects of huge storms like these will get worse and worse. Thus if the GTA wants to continue this development so that infrastructure is sustainable for future generations to use, it must seriously upgrade its existing sewer system.

Andrew Fox said...

Scientists have predicted that with climate change we will have more storms, as is proving true if you look at mass rainfall amounts in the City of Toronto. In 2005 another mass rainfall event happened where some gauges read over 150 mm of rain over a 3 hour period (http://riversides.org/rainguide/riversides_hgr.php?cat=1&page=78&subpage=82). The cost to the city to make repairs after both this storm and the storm on July 8th was enormous. Toronto’s infrastructure was built for 100 year storms like these back some time ago, but as development increases across the GTA, the runoff totals increase as well. Not only are the storms that the infrastructure was meant to handle getting stronger and more frequent, but their effects are also getting stronger with the increased runoff from increased development. If the region keeps developing without upgrading drainage infrastructure, the effects of huge storms like these will get worse and worse. Thus if the GTA wants to continue this development so that infrastructure is sustainable for future generations to use, it must seriously upgrade its existing sewer system.

Simon Donner said...

Thanks Andrew. That also serves of a reminder about that summer storms are hyper-local; official weather data is taken at the airport, where the amazingly heavy downpour did not register.

20422016 said...

This should serve as proof that climate change is an ever growing issue that will need to be dealt with at some point in the near future. While scientists and experts in the field have been warning of severe weather patterns that come with climate change, most people are not concerned about it in their everyday lives. However, storms like the one we had recently should serve as a wake up call that something needs to be done.

This storm also demonstrated that the infrastructure in Toronto is inadequate if we will continue to see storms of this size in the future. With the GTA growing constantly and population increasing, the problem is compounded due to an increase in runoff. However, upgrading the sewer network in Toronto may prevent future storms, but it is not a permanent solution.

The real solution is stopping (or trying to stop) climate change. Admittedly, this is an ambitious task, but it is the only truly sustainable solution. We need to do what we can to reduce emissions and live more sustainable, environmentally-friendly lives. We need to find a balance between the people, the environment and the economy. Of course, certain tradeoffs and compromises have to occur in order to make a change.