Understanding Our Changing Climate

The Cowichan Region's climate has large variations over short distances because of complex geography. Areas with the least precipitation include the east coast of the region. The highest amounts of precipitation occur on the west coast of the region and upland areas in the interior of the Island. The projected impacts to our climate over the next century include an increase in temperature, an increase in precipitation, a decrease in snowpack through much of the region, and an increase in sea level.

Climate impacts are expected to contribute to increased intensity and frequency of natural hazards such as flooding, landslides and wildfires. The CVRD has completed natural hazard risk assessments for some areas in the region. The CVRD has also adopted a risk tolerance policy to ensure developments will not increase risks from natural hazards.

  1. Temperature
  2. Precipitation
  3.  Snowpack 
  4. Sea level rise

Climate models for the South Coast of BC project warming throughout the 21st century for all seasons.  Summer is projected to warm slightly more than other seasons, by 2.0 oC by the 2050s and 3.1 oC by the 2080s.  

A seasonal increase in hot and dry conditions would increase the possibility of water shortages, increase plant and livestock stress, and place thermal stress on fish and their habitats.

A change in agricultural productivity could result from a longer growing season, seasonally waterlogged soil, and decreased water availability. New crops and varieties may become viable. Animal and plant species are likely to migrate in response to warming. If the dry season increases in length, this could increase forest fire severity.