Understanding and Assessing Impacts
The City of Windsor is experiencing impacts related to changes in precipitation and temperature, extreme heat, extreme weather events, as well as changes to freshwater levels. There is a quantifiable history of climate change in Windsor. The 30-year mean temperature in Windsor has increased from 9.1°C in 1960-1989 to 10.1°C in 1990-2019, representing a 1°C increase in average annual temperature. The 30-year mean annual rainfall has increased from 840mm in 1941-1969 to 955mm in 1990-2019, an increase of approximately 7%. In the last decade alone (2010-2019), the mean annual rainfall has been measured at 995mm. Projections show that the average number of days above 30°C will more than double by 2050s and more than triple by 2080s. An increase in average precipitation is expected, particularly in winter and spring, while summer may eventually see a slight decrease in precipitation coupled with increasingly warm seasonal temperatures. More events of extreme precipitation are expected. Water temperature of the Erie basin continues to increase, negatively impacting wetlands, habitats and biodiversity.
High water levels and heavy precipitation have caused three major one-in-100-year storms in 2010, 2016, and 2017 that caused an estimated $400 million in damage. Windsor is also one of the hottest cities in Canada with temperatures often reaching +30°C in summer, posing major health risks for residents and damaging road infrastructure. In addition, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has noted that previously not present vectors are now being traced in Windsor and the surrounding area. The City knows they are at risk of West Nile Virus mosquitos – because of the changing climate (warmer temperatures and increased precipitation) which make it possible for these mosquitos to survive where they previously could not – but new information notes that Zika-carrying mosquitos are emerging and could be a new vector for concern for the City.