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Bells Corners, Canada

Casati B.,Consortium Ouranos | Yagouti A.,Climate Change and Health Office | Chaumont D.,Consortium Ouranos
Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology | Year: 2013

Public health planning needs the support of evidence-based information on current and future climate, which could be used by health professionals and decision makers to better understand and respond to the health impacts of extreme heat. Climate models provide information regarding the expected increase in temperatures and extreme heat events with climate change and can help predict the severity of future health impacts, which can be used in the public health sector for the development of adaptation strategies to reduce heat-related morbidity and mortality. This study analyzes the evolution of extreme temperature indices specifically defined to characterize heat events associated with health risks, in the context of a changing climate. The analysis is performed by using temperature projections from the Canadian Regional Climate Model. A quantile-based statistical correction is applied to the projected temperatures, in order to reduce model biases and account for the representativeness error. Moreover, generalized Pareto distributions are used to extend the temperature distribution upper tails and extrapolate the statistical correction to extremes that are not observed in the present but that might occur in the future. The largest increase in extreme daytime temperatures occurs in southern Manitoba, Canada, where the already overly dry climate and lack of soil moisture can lead to an uncontrolled enhancement of hot extremes. The occurrence of warm nights and heat waves, on the other hand, is already large and will increase substantially in the communities of the Great Lakes region, characterized by a humid climate. Impact and adaptation studies need to account for the temperature variability due to local effects, since it can be considerably larger than the model natural variability. © 2013 American Meteorological Society. Source

Paterson J.A.,McGill University | Ford J.D.,McGill University | Ford L.B.,McGill University | Lesnikowski A.,McGill University | And 3 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2012

Background: Climate change is among the major challenges for health this century, and adaptation to manage adverse health outcomes will be unavoidable. The risks in Ontario - Canadas most populous province - include increasing temperatures, more frequent and intense extreme weather events, and alterations to precipitation regimes. Socio-economic-demographic patterns could magnify the implications climate change has for Ontario, including the presence of rapidly growing vulnerable populations, exacerbation of warming trends by heat-islands in large urban areas, and connectedness to global transportation networks. This study examines climate change adaptation in the public health sector in Ontario using information from interviews with government officials. Methods: Fifty-three semi-structured interviews were conducted, four with provincial and federal health officials and 49 with actors in public health and health relevant sectors at the municipal level. We identify adaptation efforts, barriers and opportunities for current and future intervention. Results: Results indicate recognition that climate change will affect the health of Ontarians. Health officials are concerned about how a changing climate could exacerbate existing health issues or create new health burdens, specifically extreme heat (71%), severe weather (68%) and poor air-quality (57%). Adaptation is currently taking the form of mainstreaming climate change into existing public health programs. While adaptive progress has relied on local leadership, federal support, political will, and inter-agency efforts, a lack of resources constrains the sustainability of long-term adaptation programs and the acquisition of data necessary to support effective policies. Conclusions: This study provides a snapshot of climate change adaptation and needs in the public health sector in Ontario. Public health departments will need to capitalize on opportunities to integrate climate change into policies and programs, while higher levels of government must improve efforts to support local adaptation and provide the capacity through which local adaptation can succeed. © 2012 Paterson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Mirzaei P.A.,Concordia University at Montreal | Haghighat F.,Concordia University at Montreal | Nakhaie A.A.,Concordia University at Montreal | Yagouti A.,Climate Change and Health Office | And 3 more authors.
Building and Environment | Year: 2012

Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects have caused extensive economic and health related issues to many city residents, especially the most vulnerable such as elderly people living in buildings without air conditioners or mechanical ventilation systems. To reinforce the resiliency of individuals and communities in facing extreme heat event, cities are developing reliable tools to predict the indoor thermal characteristics using available building characteristics, climate data and socio-economical factors.In this study, a novel approach is proposed to predict the indoor thermal conditions in these buildings. First, a measurement campaign is conducted to monitor indoor thermal condition within 55 buildings in most vulnerable regions on the Island of Montreal. Two models, Simplified and Advanced, are developed to predict hourly indoor dry-bulb temperatures. Both models use an advanced Artificial Neural Network (ANN) technique. The Simplified ANN Model generates a correlation between airport weather observations and monitored indoor dry-bulb temperatures. On the other hand, the Advanced Model includes ten influential parameters, which represent the effect of neighboring environment, building characteristics and its usage patterns on the indoor thermal condition. Comparison of these two predictive models is conducted on different levels of simulation and validation. The Advanced Model shows better accuracy in predicting the indoor thermal conditions, thus justifying the use of neighborhood specific parameters to forecast indoor environment condition in an urban heat island area. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Lesnikowski A.C.,McGill University | Lesnikowski A.C.,University of British Columbia | Ford J.D.,McGill University | Berrang-Ford L.,McGill University | And 6 more authors.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

Our understanding of whether adaptive capacity on a national level is being translated into adaptation policies, programs, and projects is limited. Focusing on health adaptation in Annex I Parties to the UNFCCC, we examine whether statistically significant relationships exist between regulatory, institutional, financial, and normative aspects of national-level adaptive capacity and systematically measured adaptation. Specifically, we (i) quantify adaptation actions in Annex I nations, (ii) identify potential factors that might impact progress on adaptation and select measures for these factors, and (iii) calculate statistical relationships between factors and adaptation actions across countries. Statistically significant relationships are found between progress on adaptation and engagement in international environmental governance, national environmental governance, perception of corruption in the public sector, population size, and national wealth, as well as between responsiveness to health vulnerabilities, population size and national wealth. This analysis contributes two key early empirical findings to the growing literature concerning factors facilitating or constraining adaptation. While country size and wealth are necessary for driving higher levels of adaptation, they may be insufficient in the absence of policy commitments to environmental governance. Furthermore, governance and/or incentive frameworks for environmental governance at the national level may be an important indicator of the strength of national commitments to addressing health impacts of climate change. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Yusa A.,Health Canada | Berry P.,Climate Change and Health Office | Cheng J.J.,Sherbourne Health Center | Ogden N.,Public Health Agency of Canada | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2015

Droughts have been recorded all across Canada and have had significant impacts on individuals and communities. With climate change, projections suggest an increasing risk of drought in Canada, particularly in the south and interior. However, there has been little research on the impacts of drought on human health and the implications of a changing climate. A review of the Canadian, U.S. and international literature relevant to the Canadian context was conducted to better define these impacts and adaptations available to protect health. Drought can impact respiratory health, mental health, illnesses related to exposure to toxins, food/water security, rates of injury and infectious diseases (including food-, water- and vector-borne diseases). A range of direct and indirect adaptation (e.g., agricultural adaptation) options exist to cope with drought. Many have already been employed by public health officials, such as communicable disease monitoring and surveillance and public education and outreach. However, gaps exist in our understanding of the impacts of short-term vs. prolonged drought on the health of Canadians, projections of drought and its characteristics at the regional level and the effectiveness of current adaptations. Further research will be critical to inform adaptation planning to reduce future drought-related risks to health. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

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