2017 Floods: How it happened and why, and can we protect ourselves better?


When: February 27th, 7:00 pm

Where: 490 de L’Église Street, in L’Île-Bizard

Summary of the presentation

**Whispered translation into English will be available upon request**

In general, we can see a significant increase of weather or climate disasters since the 1960’s in Canada and worldwide. From 1980 to 2015, the number of natural catastrophies was multiplied by three on a global scale in a context of rapid and pronounced increases of temperature. Moreover, in Canada, the temperature warming has been more than double the global tendency observed since the 1950’s, and in the north of Canada and Quebec, it is three times higher than the global average. Over the past 25 years in Quebec only, we have had over 30 catastrophic floods (that is more than one per year).

This presentation will go over the 2017 spring floods, explaining the context in which they occurred and the global picture of the climate changes happening right now, in particular in Québec, as well as the known links between the floods and climate change. This will allow us to analyze the contributing factors, and how they can evolve and eventually generate more risks of major floods in the future, as the warming continues. In conclusion, the presentation will address realistic strategies in terms of prevention, preparation, intervention and recovery or rebuilding after the major damages incurred following the floods.

Presentators : Ursule Boyer-Villemaire et Philippe Gachon

BIOGRAPHY of the presentators

Ursule Boyer-Villemaire (PhD)

Ursule Boyer-Villemaire has a bachelor’s degree in physical geography, a master’s degree in oceanography and a PhD in environmental sciences. She is a consultant and independent researcher in environment on risk management and adaptation to climate change. She offers guidance and training to municipalities, certain ministries and individuals. She specializes in particular on the vulnerability of coastal communities in the face of climate change impact, from a geomorphological perspective as well as from the perspective of the communities’ capacity to adapt. She participated in the analysis of coastal adaptation options and the development of public policies and public security programs. She created the portal Surveillance Côtière Québec in order to contribute to citizens’ science. She worked with the municipality of Rigaud and its residents following the 2017 floods (per example, by offering options to prevent, adapt and plan).

Philippe Gachon (PhD)

Philippe Gachon teaches hydro-climatology at the department of geography and is a researcher at the ESCER centre (Étude et Simulation du Climat à l’Échelle Régionale) at UQAM, as well as the research chair on hydro-meteorological risks related to climate change. Mr. Gachon obtained his PhD in 1999 in Environment sciences at UQAM and did a post-doctorial internship at the Institut Maurice-Lamontagne (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) between 1999 and 2002. From 2003 to 2014, Mr. Gachon was a scientific researcher at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, where he analyzed storms and extreme climate events, and developed regional climate scenarios and evaluated disaster risks related to climate change.

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