Awards to CH PhD Candidates

Two CH PhD candidates have recently won prestigious awards for their work.

Nik Aksamit, who is studying alpine boundary layer turbulence and snow transport, was selected as the recipient of the 2016 Robert Falside Stoddart Memorial Scholarship by the College of Graduate Studies and Research at the University of Saskatchewan.

Phillip Harder, investigating the impact of agricultural management on prairie snowmelt hydrology, won the Bert Tanner Award for outstanding student presentation (sponsored by Campbell Scientific Canada), awarded by the Canadian Society of Agricultural and Forest Meteorology at a meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Salt Lake City (20-24 June, 2016).

Both students are supervised by CH director Professor John Pomeroy.


Pomeroy to lecture on climate change and mountain water security at UEA

CH director Professor John Pomeroy has been invited to present a seminar to the School of International Development, School of Environmental Sciences and the Water Security Programme at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, England) on Mountains, Climate Change and Water Security.

The Seminar will take place on Thursday 23 June at 1245 pm in Arts 2.02 at UEA Norwich. The seminar will put Canadian and international research on climate change impacts on mountain water resources in the context of global water futures.

More information is available in PDF form.

CH PhD Candidate Selected to Participate in DCMIP Workshop at NCAR

Kabir Rasouli, who is working towards his PhD at CH under the supervision of Prof. John Pomeroy, has been selected to participate in the 2016 DCMIP Workshop and Summer School at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scheduled June 6th – 17th.

From the DCMIP website –

Over the past fifty years, Earth-system models have given us incredible insight into the influence of the changing climate on regional and global scales. A major component of these models is the atmospheric dynamical core, which is responsible for solving the equations of fluid motion within the atmosphere. Substantial investments are now being made in the development of new dynamical cores at modeling centers around the world, driven by the need for more accurate and efficient models, the call for more practicable climate data at the fine scales, and the rapid growth of supercomputing architectures. More attention has been directed at inaccuracies and biases that arise due to the relatively crude division between physical parameterizations and dynamics. To better understand these systems, the Dynamical Core Model Intercomparison Project (DCMIP) aims to intercompare cutting-edge dynamical cores and provide a forum to exchange ideas and advance education on dynamical core development.

DCMIP will fund approximately 35 students and postdoctoral participants. Lectures from experts in the field on select topics associated with atmospheric model theory, design and development. Hands-on sessions run by model leads where students will execute and explore the newest generation atmospheric models. Students will receive hands-on experience with these dynamical cores in small groups to simulate a baroclinic instability, tropical cyclone and supercell storm.

CH Flood and Climate Change Research Profiled by Calgary Herald

The Calgary Herald of 18th June 2016 included an extended article covering convergent strands of CH research relating to climate-change, watershed processes and the 2013 Alberta floods.

The story described in detail how CH’s studies on topics as diverse as major declines in glacier ice in the high Rockies, the relative importances of forest-cover and soil properties in modulating suface runoff, changes in prairie rainstorm patterns and the increasing occurrence of previously unusual (and in some cases unprecedented) weather events have all helped to improve understanding of how flood events are likely to develop under changing climatic conditions.

The article is available for online viewing here, or as an archived PDF.

Rain on Snow Research Profiled in Rocky Mountain Outlook

Canmore’s Rocky Mountain Outlook has published an article describing interesting research by CH PhD candidate Nic Leroux and director Dr John Pomeroy. They have been exploring how rain which falls on late-season snowpack finds its way to the underlying surface, and their experiments have shown how this happens primarily along preferential flow paths or ‘flow fingers’. This holds great promise for improving understanding of the processes involved in rain-on-snow events, which have been occurring more frequently in the Alberta Rockies over recent years, and played a major role in the floods of 2013.

The article is available for online viewing here.

CH Comments on Role of Climate Change in Increasing Wildfire Risks

Following the major destruction wrought by the Fort McMurray wildfire at the beginning of May, and public interest in the factors which may have contributed to its ferocity, CH Director and Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change Professor John Pomeroy was asked by Global News for his thoughts on this topic.

Dr Pomeroy highlighted research showing that conditions leading to low soil moisture and air humidity – such as those experienced throughout much of central and western Canada this spring following an extremely mild, dry winter – lead to an increased likelihood of major wildfires occurring. Many of the models developed to predict future fire behaviour under changing climatic conditions show such risks intensifying dramatically over future decades, particularly in the northern forests.

The interview is available for online viewing here.


PhD Student Awarded APEGS Grant

CH student Holly Anand, who is working towards her PhD on the topic of ‘Changing Prairie Hydrology’ under the supervision of Professors John Pomeroy and Howard Wheater, has been awarded a Member Grant of $7500  by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS).

The award was made on the basis of Holly’s essay describing her accomplishments in the practice of engineering, service to the profession, reasons for pursuing grad studies and community involvement, supported by references from Professors John Pomeroy and Terry Fonstad. She will receive the award at the APEGS banquet in Saskatoon on the 7th of May.


CH Contributes Views on Possible Summer Drought Risks

CH’s Professor John Pomeroy has been interviewed by several Saskatoon media channels on the topic of likely water resources scenarios in the prairies this summer, following a warm, dry winter throughout much of the region.

The signs at this stage (mid April) are that western areas may be at particular risk of encountering drought-like conditions, with resultant impacts on agriculture and wildfire risks.

Prof. Pomeroy commented that “Large evacuations due to forest fire are occurring almost every year in western Canada now, when they used to be much rarer occurrences”.

  • CTV News Saskatoon
  • ‘Desert-dry’ Saskatchewan primed for wildfires
    Saskatoon StarPhoenix, 20th April 2016
    Original ArticleArchived PDF
  • Red Cross gears up for 2016 Sask. forest fire season
    Global News Saskatoon, 20th April 2016
    Original Article

CH Model Contributes to UNESCO Andean Hydrological Training in Chile

The UNESCO International Hydrological Programme Course on Professional Training on Andean Hydrology held in Santiago, Chile, 17-20 November 2015 featured hydrological model training using the U of S’s Cold Regions Hydrological Model (CRHM) – taught by Dr James McPhee and PhD student Yohann Videla Giering, both of the University of Chile.

The course was taught to 52 students from Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Argentina and Germany. Dr McPhee is a collaborator with UofS in the field of mountain hydrology and water resources. Yohann Videla Giering is now on a Chilean Government-funded exchange spending 6 months with the University of Saskatchewan Centre for Hydrology (GIWS) where he is learning how to apply the new glacier hydrology components of CRHM (developed as part of CCRN) to calculate the water resources of the Andes.

More details are provided (in Spanish) here.