To provide a perspective of historic climate trends in the Bow Valley Corridor, data was collected and analyzed from six climate stations in the region. Climate projections, impacts, and risks included observed local trends as well as local climate data that was collected and analyzed from six climate stations in the region. These climate stations were selected because the data cover multiple decades, are high quality, and the stations span an area that is comparable to the same area for which climate projections are available. Climate projections for the Bow Valley Corridor, for the 2050s, were derived using the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium’s (PCIC) Regional Analysis Tool. Projected climate hazards include changes in precipitation; extreme weather events (wind, blizzards, precipitation); changes to the cryosphere; and increasing temperatures. In identifying risk, this case study is grounded in existing standards for risk management based on the ISO31000, Risk Management – Principles and Guidelines. Workshops (facilitated by All One Sky Foundation) were held with Town staff and other local stakeholders to identify, assess, and evaluate climate-related risks and opportunities facing Canmore over the next several decades. In total, twenty-two risks and opportunities were identified, of which eight risks and three opportunities were defined as priorities for action planning. Priority risks for action planning include forest fire; Bow river flooding; creek flooding; stormwater system overwhelmed by rainfall, leading to localized flooding; extreme wind events; water supply shortage; heavy snowfall events, blizzards; and changing freeze-thaw cycles. Priority opportunities for action planning include increase in summer season recreation opportunities; extended construction season; and increase in winter tourism competitive advantage.
The Town of Canmore, located in the Bow Valley within Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, is taking steps to address climate change and ensure Canmore is safe, prosperous, and resilient in the future by developing a Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Plan. Projected changes in average temperature and precipitation for the Bow Valley will have broad consequences across the natural environment, including the size of our glaciers, winter snowpack, streamflow, wildfires and forest pests, and regional ecosystems. There are many climatic impacts associated with the projected changes, with consequences for municipal infrastructure and services, private property, the local economy and environment, and the health and lifestyle of citizens. In order to enhance local community resilience and take advantage of potential opportunities, the Town has developed this Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Plan.