Bioclimate Profiles

The climate and its variability is a critical component for understanding sustainable development and maintaining biodiversity. Bioclimate profiles (BCPs) have been developed to enhance users’ knowledge of climate and assist in multi-disciplinary studies of past and future climate regimes. Historical bioclimate profiles were originally developed for Ontario in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MacIver, 1986) and then further developed and enhanced by Environment Canada (MacIver and Isaac, 1989; MacIver and Whitewood, 1992). The Canadian Climate Impact Scenarios Project (2002) extended the development of bioclimate profiles to the future climate. Building on the work of MacIver and Isaac (1989), Global Climate Model (GCM) scenarios were applied to the historical observed data for a select number of stations across Canada.

Bioclimate profiles, described by MacIver and Isaac (1989) as ‘climate at a glance’, provide a graphical representation of climate and related indices on a site by site basis. A typical bioclimate profile consists of a number of elements which describe the temperature and moisture conditions at the site in question. These elements generally include:

  • minimum, mean and maximum temperature; extreme minimum and extreme maximum temperature
  • maximum temperature above and below specific threshold levels
  • degree day accumulations with threshold temperatures relevant for energy use (i.e. Heating and Cooling Degree Days) and agricultural applications (i.e. Corn Heat Units, Growing Degree Days)
  • probability of frost and freeze-free season information
  • monthly total precipitation, actual and potential evapotranspiration
  • frequency of precipitation: number of days with rain and days with snow
  • water surplus and deficit

The above bioclimate profiles have been calculated and made available graphically on the CCCSN for both historical and future time periods. A description of the methodology used in developing the profiles is provided below.

Source : http://www.cccsn.ec.gc.ca/?page=bioc-help


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