Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon

Climate Change

Science has confirmed that the earth is warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the mean temperature for the planet as a whole has climbed 0.74 ̊C in the last 100 years. Due to a phenomenon called the greenhouse effect, the long-term pattern of weather that Essex residents are used to experiencing is changing.

The greenhouse effect

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide trap heat from the sun in the lower atmosphere to keep the planet warm and habitable. These gases occur naturally, but the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is on the rise due to human activity. Use of fossil fuels and deforestation contribute to an increase in the Earth's mean temperature.

Where do greenhouse gases come from?

Greenhouse gases come from a variety of sources including the combustion of fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) for transportation, industry, building and electricity production. Greenhouse gases are also generated from agriculture and waste.

What does climate change mean for Essex?

According to Milestone Two and the Science of Climate Change, a report generated in April 2012 for the Town of Essex by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the following changes are likely:

Increased air temperature

We expect to see an increase in the average annual temperature of 2.7 ± 0.5°C by 2050 from the 1971-2000 baseline. There will be slightly more warming in winter and spring.

Increased precipitation

Expect a 5.6% increase in average annual precipitation by 2050 from the 1971-2000 baseline, with a greater change in winter and spring precipitation and the possibility of decreased precipitation during the summer.

Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events

Expect a 10% increase in the intensity of heavy rain events by 2050 from the 1981-2000 average. We may experience a doubled frequency of heavy rain events and longer drought periods between storms.

Changes in Lake Erie

Ice cover over parts of the lake could be reduced by 16-52 days by 2050 with a decrease of 0.8 metres and high seasonal variability.

Water Shortages

Increased air temperature will bring increased evaporation, decreased summer precipitation and lower water levels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts, but they can complement each other and together can significantly reduce the risks of climate change. The Town of Essex has committed itself to both adaptation strategies and mitigation measures to minimize the risks associated with a changing climate.