Severe weather is increasing in frequency and intensity, and that spells trouble with storm drains, roads and hillside developments designed without giving due consideration to climate change, says a report cited in the Vancouver Sun today.
The report is based on research – dubbed “controversial” by the Sun – contained in a 2001 University of British Columbia master’s thesis published last summer in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. The thesis says there are going to be even more massive mudslides and floods of the kind seen across southern B.C.
“If we are experiencing climate change,” said Robert Millar, UBC
civil engineering professor, “then engineers are using old data to design for future conditions that may not be valid.” The UBC
study jolted skeptics at the Greater Vancouver Regional District into a mad scramble of damage control. Not surprisingly, the GVRD
’s findings were “at odds” with those at UBC
. With the back of its hand, the GVRD
dismissed the UBC
research as merely “short-term changes.” The records used for UBC
’s analysis, moreover “are simply too short to be meaningful.” It also warned that “A long-term rise in the magnitude of high intensity rainfall events could … necessitate the replacement of the storm water and sewerage drainage, which would be associated with very high costs.”