Providing Regional Climate Services to British Columbia

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54th CMOS Congress Presentation: Future precipitation caused landslide hazard in British Columbia

Stephen Sobie
June 15, 2020 - 10:45am to 11:00am

This presentation will be delivered online as part of the 54th CMOS Congress.

Registration to see the talks is free. Register here.

Landslide hazards in British Columbia are mainly caused by precipitation and can result in significant damage and fatalities. Anthropogenic climate change is expected to increase precipitation frequency and intensity in the Winter, Spring and Fall in British Columbia (BC), potentially resulting in increased frequency of landslide hazard. Quantifying the effect of changing precipitation on future landslide hazard across the varying topographic and climatic conditions in BC requires detailed projections of future precipitation. Here, the operational Landslide Hazard Assessment for Situation Awareness (LHASA) model is used with high-resolution, statistically downscaled precipitation to generate detailed simulations of landslide hazard in BC over the 21st century. Using the LHASA model with precipitation projections from 12 downscaled global climate models reveals future landslide hazard frequency is expected to increase by from 11 to 14 events per year on average by the 2050s for the province as a whole. Areas of the province currently with the greatest landslide hazard, including the west coast and northern Rocky Mountains, are expected to see up to 12 additional events per year. Most of the increased hazard event frequency occurs during Winter and Fall, reflecting those seasons with the largest projected precipitation increases. Risk assessments for regions and infrastructure in British Columbia vulnerable to landslides will need to account for increasing hazard due to climate change altered precipitation.

This talk will be delivered by PCIC Regional Climate Analyst Stephen Sobie as part of the 54th annual Congress of the the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. CMOS is Canada’s national society of scientists, individuals and organizations involved in meteorology, oceanography and related fields, holds a national conference, showcasing research from the cutting edge of these disciplines. This year's Congress is being held online, with free registration.