Predictions and Scenarios

Global models are increasingly used to predict the impacts of climate change (e.g. surface temperatures, winds, rainfall, changes in river flow). They are proving successful in explaining general trends such as the rapid warming of the Arctic region. However, since global models are unable to look at regional impacts in any detail regional models still need to be developed.

These models will be used to create predictions and scenarios that describe future ocean conditions. With this view of the future, policy and decision makers will be able to anticipate the changing geographic range and movement of commercial fish species and species at risk as well as track invasive species, as just a few examples. Coastal communities will be able to use this information to determine if protective seawalls and dykes should be strengthened or raised. New harbours can be designed to adapt to rising or lowering water levels and storm events.

Ocean science models are created by measuring and integrating many different types of data, such as salinity, temperature, ocean colour (which indicates blooms of tiny aquatic organisms), atmospheric pressure, dissolved oxygen content of water, and surface winds.

Regional climate models are being developed on all three coasts.

DFO collaborates with several partners on Ocean climate models.