What is the difference between weather and climate?

    Weather is what you see when you look out the window each day. Is it raining, sunny, windy, hot, cold, etc. Climate is the typical weather for a particular area averaged over a period of 30 or more years. So, when we speak about weather, we’re talking about the short term whereas climate is averages over a long period of time.

    What is climate change?

    Climate Change is the change in the usual weather patterns. Climate is always changing but these changes typically happen over a very long timescale. The changes happening to our climate are taking place at a faster timescale and have been linked to human influence.

    What is the difference between climate mitigation and climate adaptation?

    Climate mitigation focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by adopting cleaner energy technologies and transitioning away from the use of fossil fuels. In Burlington, we have two plans approved by City Council that address this part of climate change:

    • Corporate Energy and Emissions Plan has a goal for city operations to become net carbon neutral by 2040
    • Climate Action Plan (on climate mitigation) has a goal for the community to be net carbon neutral by 2050.


    Climate adaptation recognizes that our climate is changing and strives to manage the risks and reduce our vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

    • The City of Burlington is developing Climate Resilient Burlington: A Plan for Adapting to Our Warmer, Wetter and Wilder Weather.

    Climate Resilient Burlington: A Plan for Adapting to Our Warmer, Wetter and Wilder Weather is speaking about events far into the future, right?

    Yes and no.


    The goal of the plan is to address our future climate, specifically in the 2051-2080 time period under a ‘business as usual’ emissions scenario. This information is highlighted in the Climate Projections Report and also in the infographics section of this page.


    However, we have already been experiencing warmer, wetter and wilder weather and have created a story map showcasing some past events in Burlington as an example of what we could see more of in the future. Check out the Climate Change Impacts story map here.


    What programs or information currently exist to help me adapt to warmer, wetter and wilder weather?

    • Home flood Protection Program – A national program first piloted in Burlington in 2017 providing a confidential comprehensive inspection of residents’ homes and a user-friendly recommendations report informing residents how to reduce their risk of flooding. The City of Burlington is currently offering a subsidy for a Home Flood Protection Assessment on a first come first served basis for this program.
    • Burlington Plumbing Reimbursement Program – a program to extend financial assistance to homeowners for flood prevention work covering the cost of a building permit for that work.
    •  Enhanced Basement Flooding Prevention Subsidy Program – a program providing financial support for residents who make the necessary improvements on the private side to prevent storm water from entering the waste water system and to reduce to risk of flooding from sewer backup
    • Halton Basement Flooding Mitigation Program – a program by Halton Region to ensure wastewater infrastructure is in a state of good repair and help prevent sewer back-ups that can lead to basement flooding


    • Health information about: