Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) first worked towards identifying the risks and opportunities for agriculture in Manitoba under a changing climate. Upon consultation with the Prairie Climate Centre, localized projections specific to agriculture were identified using a tool called the Prairie Climate Atlas, which is a collection of interactive maps. By the 2020’s, the atlas projects that Manitoba’s summer temperatures and precipitation will look more like current day North Dakota. By the 2050’s, the atlas projects that Manitoba’s summers will look more like present-day South Dakota and Nebraska. Finally, by the 2080’s, the atlas forecasts that Manitoba’s summer temperatures and precipitation will likely resemble summers in present-day Kansas and northern Texas. The Climate Atlas also identified opportunities from a changing climate. The atlas suggests that the biggest opportunity for Manitoba farmers is likely to be a longer growing season. The frost-free period across the southern Prairies has already increased by about one month over the last 100 years and is expected to increase by yet another month in the next 50 years. From here KAP consulted farmers across Manitoba sharing climate data and collecting information on the priorities for managing the risks of climate change. To supplement the consultation, KAP performed an analysis of literature to assist in translating the priorities of local farmers into supportive actions the government can take to assist with adapting to climate impacts. The key risks that were identified through the project included new pests, drier summers/droughts, wetter winters and more extreme and less predictable climates.