Understanding and Assessing Impacts
Agriculture is an important industry in the counties of Grey, Bruce and Huron. The changing climate can introduce new or accentuate existing risks to agriculture including but not limited to soil erosion and nutrient depletion, delays in farming operations, increased runoff and water contamination, reduced yields, increased susceptibility to disease, and higher production costs. Warmer temperatures could also be beneficial to agriculture in the Great Lakes region, resulting in longer growing and grazing seasons, increased crop yields, and the potential to grow new crop species in a warmer climate. A literature review was conducted to identify key climate hazards, impacts, opportunities, and risks for the main components of the agricultural sector, and a draft risk registry was produced to assess and quantify risk. Risk scenarios were developed to consider how a climate hazard can cascade to direct and indirect impacts for different components of the sector. Risk was defined as the potential for consequences where something of value is at stake and where the outcome is uncertain. The risk of climate-related impacts results from the interaction of climate-related hazards (including hazardous events and trends) with the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems. The climate impact pathway begins with climate hazards (like drought or extreme rainfall) that impact agriculture components (like crops, livestock and infrastructure) and then these impacts can have consequences across multiple categories (like financial loss and environmental damage). Climate data was obtained from literature as well as the Climate Change Hazards Information Portal (CCHIP), a web-based tool that uses data from 40 of the most recent Global Climate Models and many other sources to provide defensible, actionable conclusions about changes across a whole array of climate and severe weather-related conditions. The study examined historic (1981-2010) and projected future (2050s) trends in a number of climate variables under the RCP 8.5 emissions scenario.
For additional climate information, look at the Resources section of this example (below).