Calgary’s flood of the century* and climate change

On June 21, 2013 I was supposed to be in Calgary enjoying Explosions In The Sky and the rest of the Sled Island Music Festival. Instead, I stayed home while 80,000 Calgarians were evacuated from their homes. The mighty Bow and Elbow rivers had overflowed their banks, sending the city into a two week state of emergency.

People said it was the flood of the century. Problem is, they had already experienced a flood of the century back in 2005. And another time just nine years before that. Three floods of the century in less than twenty years?

Watching the news and analysis unfold, this flood of the century motif repeated over and over. Not once did I hear that the occurence of extreme weather events was accelerating. In fact, senior Federal politicians explicitly shutdown any discussion that would tie the 2013 to climate change.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and I wanted to challenge this denial, and discuss the flood in the context of climate change. Working on a short timeline, we spoke to University of Calgary climatologist Shawn Marshall as well as expat Calgarian and sustainability professional Mike Soron. Listen in for the analysis of the 2013 Calgary flood that you need to hear.

This story originally aired on Terra Informa in July, 2013.