Environment, News, Science

City Services Gearing Up To Battle Climate Change

Rain in the distance in California. Image: Brocken Inaglory
Rain in the distance in California. Image: Brocken Inaglory

Cities need to watch the weather closely in the future to make sure that city services are always in good working order, according to a new report being studied by the City of Toronto.

That’s because the changing climate–including severe weather and warmer temperatures–may affect cities’ infrastructure. In this case, “infrastructure” refers to services that support the city, such as roads, public transit and energy plants.

The report, requested by the Toronto Environment Office, summed up the past 10 years of serious weather events in and around Toronto.

In the last decade, several records were broken due to the weather. For instance, there was one day in which there was an unusually high demand for power during a very hot summer. This kind of high demand can put a strain on the city’s ability to provide power.

An all-time record 409 mm (millimetres) of rainfall was set at Trent University during this time. Four hundred and nine millimetres is equivalent to 14 billion litres of water in five hours.

Also, in the past 10 years, Toronto had its earliest ever official heat wave.

These kinds of weather events will likely continue and could affect the infrastructure of Toronto and other cities.

Without continuing repairs and maintenance, services will have to work harder. Sewers could back up, power sources could be affected, and heat waves could damage the surfaces of roads.

To avoid this, these services will have to be repaired more often and maintained more carefully, according to the study.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Climate change affects more than the weather and a city’s infrastructure. What else is impacted by climate change? How is it affected?

Reading Prompt: Analysing Texts
Journalists work hard to write in a style that is easy to understand. One strategy they use is to connect the first sentence to the last.

How did the journalist of this article tie the concluding sentence to the opening statement? How does this help you to better understand the article?

Analyse texts and explain how various elements in them contribute to meaning (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Analyse a variety of texts, both simple and complex, and explain how the different elements in them contribute to meaning and influence the reader’s reaction (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Grammar Feature: Prefix
A prefix is a group of letters added before a word to change its meaning.

A word used several times in this article is “infrastructure.” The prefix infra means below. The prefix is added to the word ‘structure’ to change the meaning.

Can you add a prefix to the following words to change their meanings?
1. build
2. happy
3. do
4. historic
5. between