Climate and Severe Weather

This section explores a variety of topics relating to climate, with a focus on the relationship between water, weather and climate in Alberta. Climate conditions, including changing climate conditions because of global climate change, influence:

  • water on the landscape, 
  • our water use needs, and 
  • water related hazards and severe weather events like drought and floods. 

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Climate and water words worth knowing

Our changing climate and its effect on our shared water resources is an increasingly popular topic of discussion in government, academia, businesses and households. Conversations about climate can be heavily science based, and may frequently be accompanied by an array of terms that are critical to understanding climate issues and their solutions. 

Read a handy glossary of key climate and water terms.

The history of climate in Alberta and effects of climate change on Alberta’s watersheds

The main story for Alberta is that variability is a permanent feature of climate, however climate change is likely to increase the range of weather conditions we experience. This means the province can expect to see more drastic swings between warm and cold, wet and dry, and calm and wild weather. It also means we can expect to see temperatures, precipitation and weather conditions that have been extremely rare historically, or not been seen at all in Alberta. 

Read more about climate change and Alberta's water.

The history of climate in Alberta – 11,000 years ago to present

Timeline of climate history

Although the Earth’s (and Alberta’s) climate has changed drastically over the last 4.5 billion years, the focus of this timeline is on the Holocene, which started when the Cordilleran and Laurentide Ice Sheets started melting and retreating from Alberta and North America around 11,000 years ago. Using paleoclimatic records from the Holocene helps us understand how a different global climate influenced regional hydrology and ecology of the landscape we see today.

Read a history of climate in Alberta.

Green versus Grey Infrastructure

Both green infrastructure and grey infrastructure can play an important role in water management in Alberta. However it is important to understand the differences and challenges these alternatives bring from economic, environmental, and social perspectives. 

Learn more about green versus grey infrastructure.

Lethbridge Wastewater Treatment Plant

Extreme weather: insurance and government's financial response

When recovering from extreme weather events, you may not always know where to turn. Sometimes there can seem to be an overwhelming number of resources to consult, while in other cases there can appear to be very few. 

Learn more about recovering from extreme weather.