Community Assessment & Adaptation Options:
Weyburn is located in south-eastern Saskatchewan along the Souris River within the Moist Mixed Grassland Ecoregion (Figure 1). Weyburn is a community of nearly 10,000 residents and an important service centre focused on agriculture and the oil industry. The town has a proud history being home of the writer W.O. Mitchell, Tommy Douglas’ first parish and the Weyburn Inland Terminal, the first to be owned and operated by farmers in Canada. The Nickel Lake Regional Park is found just south-east of the city.
Figure 1 Location of Weyburn
Moist Mixed-Grassland Ecoregion
The Moist Mixed Grassland Ecoregion is home to over 55% of the provincial population, and encompasses other major urban centres including Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Regina and Estevan. The ecoregion is dominated by agriculture, being approximately 80% cultivated. Numerous dams and reservoirs are present. Other economic activity includes production of oil and gas, potash and coal. Natural vegetation is primarily mid-grasses and short-grasses with aspen woodlands restricted to sloughs. Aspen stands have been expanding as a result of a reduced incidence of wildfire. The ecoregion supports more species of birds than areas further southwest. Native habitat and cropland are important wildlife habitat for upland mammals and waterfowl.
Climate Normals (1971-2000)
- The average daily temperature ranges from -15.3°C in January to 19.1°C in July with 5 months being below 0 (November to March). The lowest average daily minimum temperature is -20.5°C experienced in January and the highest average daily maximum temperature of 26.1°C is experienced in July.
- Annual precipitation averages 418.8 mm of which 76% is rainfall and the remainder is snow. 56% falls in the months of May, June, July and August.
- The average monthly wind speed is light, between 14.1 (July and August) and 16.7 km/hr (April and May)
- An indication of the demand for cooling and heating is provided by the number of degree days above 18°C – 156.7; and the number of degree days below 18°C - 5447.2.
- There are a total of 2387 sunshine hours per year with a minimum of 22.5 days of measurable sunshine in December and around 30 days in each of June, July and August.
Over the next century to 2100 climate scenarios suggest:
- A warmer climate - temperatures may generally rise 2 to 4 degrees.
- A longer growing season – but drier, despite an increase in precipitation to about 450 to 470 mm. This is a result of increased summer temperatures and increased evapotranspiration.
- The demand for summer cooling could increase almost 2 to 5 times.
- A shorter, milder winter. Heating requirements may be reduced between 6% to 22%.
- Expect more frequent and more intense extreme events (e.g. heavy precipitation or drought). Droughts will likely increase in intensity and frequency.
- Expect an increase in the number of freeze/thaw days.
Regional Adaptation Options
- Under climate change, the primary issue for communities will be water and sewer management to handle both flood and drought situations.
- Xeriscaping (low water use landscaping) and urban forest retention should be priorities. This may require introducing new plant species, changes to irrigation schedules, and pest management adjustments.
- Adopt appropriate road maintenance type and scheduling to minimize surface deterioration associated with more frequent freeze-thaw cycles, and address more frequent icy road conditions.
- Monitor park vegetation and manage for potential increased use.
- Ensure emergency preparedness plans address extreme weather events (such as heat waves) and associated health risks. The city should have a drought management protocol in place.
- Agricultural priorities in the region will continue to be soil and moisture conservation and stocking rates and/or grazing periods may have to be adjusted.
- The outdoor ice rink season will shorten. On the other hand, a longer warm season increases tourism and cultural opportunities.
- Acton, D.F., Padbury,G.A., Stushnoff,C.T., 1998. The Ecoregions of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina and Saskatchewan, Environment and Resource Management. Barrow, E. 2009 Climate Scenarios for Saskatchewan PARC Summary Document 09-01 http://www.parc.ca/pdf/research_publications/renamed/SD2009_01.pdf Barrow, E. 2009 Climate Scenarios for Saskatchewan http://www.parc.ca/pdf/research_publications/renamed/SD2009_01.pdf Canadian Plains Research Centre. 2005. Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan, http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/ecozones_and_ecoregions.html and http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/weyburn_inland_terminal.html Envronment Canada, Climate Normals http://climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climate_normals/results_e.html?StnID=3157&autofwd=1 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (2009): Municipal Resources for Adapting to Climate Change. Partners for Climate Protection, 19 p. [accessed March 18, 2010] http://www.sustainablecommunities.ca/files/Capacity_Building_-_PCP/PCP_Resources/Mun-Re-_Adapting-Climate-Change-e.pdf ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability, 2010. Changing Climate, Changing Communities - Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation. http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=11710 [accessed December 1, 2010] Mehdi, Bano, 200? Adapting to Climate Change: An Introduction for Canadian Municipalities. Canadian climate impacts and adaptation research network (C-CIARN) < http://www.c-ciarn.ca/adapting_e.html> Saskatchewan, 2010. Saskbiz, Community Profiles at http://www.saskbiz.ca/communityprofiles/communityprofile.asp?CommunityID=11 Wittrock, V. (2005): How Adaptable are Prairie Cities to Climate Change? Current and Future Impacts and Adaptation Strategies. PARC Summary Document No. 05-03, 12 p. [accessed March 18, 2010] Wittrock, V., E.E. Wheaton, C.R. Beaulieu. 2001. Adaptability of Prairie Cities: The Role of Climate Current and Future Impacts and Adaptation Strategies. Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. SRC Publication No 1196-1E01.