Climate change app helps prepare for the worst

Our roads might withstand the climate today, but what about in 50 years?

By Emma Jackson

Can that Ottawa River bridge withstand increased downpours, or more frequent freeze-thaw cycles? Will our roofs collapse under heavier snowfalls?

Ottawa-based Risk Sciences International hopes to give governments, designers and builders those answers with the help of their new Climate Change Impacts and Hazards portal.

They launched the app this week at the Adaptation 2016 climate change conference.

Director Erik Sparling and his team of climatologists, meteorologists and engineers have combined decades of historical climate data with 40 global climate change models to help project how our climate might evolve in a particular region – sometimes down to a 10-kilometre radius.

Users can tailor the data to their sector to find specific weather data that could affect how they design and build their product.

“An increasingly better job needs to be done, across so many different sectors, of factoring changing climate conditions into planning, design, even maintenance activities,” Mr. Sparling said.

The portal was developed over four years for company use. But so many clients said it would be a public asset, about six months ago they decided to license it out.

The political climate is certainly ideal: the federal Liberals, for example, are investing heavily in climate change-resistant infrastructure.

“That demands more specificity in terms of the climate change information than what is currently easily accessible out there,” Mr. Sparling said.

The beta site at cchip.ca will be available in late spring.

This article originally appeared on metronews.ca on April 15.