Use of a web-GIS to diffuse climate and water data as well as indicators of vulnerability for regional climate change studies

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Tuesday, 31 January 2006: 2:45 PM
Use of a web-GIS to diffuse climate and water data as well as indicators of vulnerability for regional climate change studies
A412 (Georgia World Congress Center)
Luc, A. Vescovi, Ouranos, Montreal, QC, Canada

The growing importance of the issue of climate change and its expected threats and impacts creates a need for various research support strategies and tools at the global and at the regional scale. In Canada, the Government of Quebec, Hydro-Quebec and the Meteorological Service of Canada launched in 2002 Ouranos, a consortium in regional climatology and adaptation to climate change whose mission is to develop the knowledge needed for integrated adaptation strategies dealing with regional climate change in a North American context. The development of the Canadian Regional Climate Model, of climate change scenarios and of data analysis tools are the main climate science activities to support vulnerability, impacts and adaptation programs identified as priority issues by Quebec's decision makers. By working at a regional scale and enabling direct links between various developers of impact and adaptation strategies, Ouranos provides an opportunity for innovative multidisciplinary and multi-organisational dialogue. As regards data management within this context, the development of a joint system containing a minimum set of the more common metadata parameters accessible via Internet has obtained a consensus and is under development using a web-GIS technology (see www2.ouranos.ca). The system developed primarily to locate stations on an interactive map and to showcase details of observation programs for each station will ultimately be used to diffuse climate and water data as well as indicators.

This paper presents the Web-GIS technology of such a system. It discusses which model of data access and distribution is best adapted to the Quebec (Ouranos) reality. It also presents how the system could be used to develop and diffuse biophysical indicators of vulnerability of climate change. Thus preliminary results of a study looking at the potential and the feasibility of a Risk Assessment Framework approach for regional Impact and Adaptation Climate Change studies are presented. The work deals with heat waves and focuses on the cartography and the integration via the GIS of general climate variables (normal) and relevant socio-economic parameters to assess human and social vulnerability to climate change. It is setting the baseline of a methodology which could lead to recommendation for future medium to long term adaptive strategies for Quebec. Comparing the present and future biophysical vulnerability show that the change for Quebec is quite important and adaptation strategies must be set up with social actions.