Methodology

Methodology

This project synthesizes the current state of understanding of climate change projections, impacts, and vulnerabilities (exposure, specifically), risk, and adaptation within the MaPP region by reviewing the diversity of relevant information, resources, and spatial data, broadly and specific to the MaPP region and sub-regions wherever possible. Projections and impacts are synthesized so that they are specific to the region and sub-regions, wherever possible. We gathered information from peer-reviewed literature, from provincial and federal government reports (grey literature), and through interviews and emails with key contacts and researchers.

Specifically, in gathering information for this report (Figure 3), we included: previous climate change vulnerability and risk assessment work from MaPP and associated contractors; publications from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports; peer reviewed academic studies on climate change impacts and adaptation strategies; assessment methods for climate change vulnerabilities and risks; external reports on predicted climate changes, impacts, and risks to the region [6]; Fisheries and Oceans Canada reports on climate impacts and risks; and Natural Resources Canada reports. We also included information from other key publications focused on climate change impacts in BC and the MaPP region. Except for some fundamental background information, we only included publications from the year 2000 and newer. 

20180202_MaPP-Figure03_ReportPG-16

Figure 3: Schematic showing the global and smaller scale data sources informing the report and maps of climate impacts on key sectors within the MaPP region. Spatial data for mapping were derived from these sources as well as from the MaPP database. Particular sectoral impacts from climate projections are shown on the third row.

We reviewed the literature and extracted relevant information for the region and sub-regions, where possible. We categorized climate projections and associated sectoral impacts and exposure by geographical scale (regional or sub-regional). Wherever possible, as limited by the available data, we also aimed to identify differences between the four MaPP sub-regions. Finally, we also contacted and interviewed key researchers in BC who work in this field to enquire about ongoing projects.

This report focuses on the following climate change variables, both observed and projected:

  • Air temperature 
  • Sea level rise 
  • Sea surface temperature 
  • Ocean acidification 
  • Ocean deoxygenation 
  • Sea surface salinity
  • Winds, wave patterns, and extreme weather events

To assess reporting of climate change projections and sectoral impacts, vulnerabilities, and risks in the associated regional and sub-regional tables, we used a reliability score used by the IPCC to qualitatively assess document quality and reliability of information. We ranked each reference on a 3-point scale and calculated an overall evidence quality score for each climate variable at both a regional and sub-regional scale. We used the same methodology to assess the evidence quality of the estimated impacts to the sub-regions from the climate variables. 

Two people in orange life jackets are sitting in a yellow kayak on the ocean surrounded by tangles of kelp that are floating on top of the water. The sky is blue with grey clouds.
Kelp research | Photo by Markus Thompson

Existing Climate Change Assessments

Several reports have provided insight into the overall trends in climate changes and climate change projections, globally and for BC and the BC coastal region. These include global reports from the IPCC. In 1998, Environment Canada released the first national scale assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation, The Canada Country Study [24]. Within that report, a chapter specific to BC highlights key impacts to the coastal region and suggests effective adaptation actions [25]. Also at the national level, the Government of Canada has produced a recent series of climate change assessments that identify observed and predicted impacts to Canada’s economy, society, and ecosystems, as well as recommended practices to support adaptation to those impacts. These assessments include: 

  • Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation: A Canadian Perspective (2004)[26]
  • Canada’s Marine Coasts in a Changing Climate (2016) [27]
  • Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation (2014) [28]

The Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) at the University of Victoria provides regionally adjusted (downscaled) climate change projections at the scale of BC through the publicly available Plan2Adapt tool. These projections are currently available for three future time horizons across the province based on an averaged set of climate models from the IPCC (2020s, 2050s, 2080s). Projections over both terrestrial and ocean areas are included for some key climate change variables. These data were used in this report as well as in the regional and sub-regional tables (see Tables section). Additional projections for ocean biochemistry are available from Environment Canada’s Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has released reports on the impacts to climate change in the NSB and for the coast of BC [4,29,30]. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), completed a report in 2014 on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities in Canada’s Pacific marine ecosystems [6]. In addition, EcoAdapt completed a report of vulnerabilities specific to the MaPP region [31]. The report included maps on current or projected changes in sea level rise, sea surface temperature, and ocean acidification for the MaPP sub-regions and region. Here we update their report with more recent climate projections, with potential risks and vulnerabilities for particular sectors and sub-regions. 

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