CRHO Research Contributes to Globe and Mail Article

CH Director Professor John Pomeroy was asked to contribute to an article in the Globe and Mail (30th January 2015) about the prospects for ski resorts in British Columbia, given trends in declining snowpacks and increasing temperatures already being observed through much of Western Canada.

Drawing on the work of the Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory, Prof. Pomeroy observed that minimum mid-winter mean daily temperatures have increased by around 2°C in maritime settings and by up to 5°C in parts of the Rockies, and that many ski resorts’ spring seasons are being reduced by as much as four to six weeks.

The article is available from the original source here.

CH Alumni in Canoe Odyssey Film

In 2011, CH students (now alumni) Ross Phillips and Nathalie Brunet were members of a team who crossed Canada by bike, foot and (mainly) canoe. Their story is told on the expedition’s website, and now also in a film chronicling their journey: this film will be shown on Saturday 24th January 2015, at the Broadway Theatre in Saskatoon (715 Broadway Avenue: doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30: Tickets are $5 at the door).

The event’s description follows…

In A Cross Canada Canoe Odyssey join four women, two men, and three canoes as they canoe from the Pacific Ocean, across Canada, to the Atlantic Ocean. The film follows crew members through laughter, illness, frustration, and perseverance as they paddle and portage 7,600 kilometers beneath mountain peaks, across the Great Plains, and through vast expanses of boreal forest.

The trip begins in Vancouver at the mouth of the Fraser River. Through British Columbia’s mountain ranges the crew paddled along mountain lakes andcycled, hiked, and snowshoed through mountain passes with canoes overhead or in tow. The expedition crossed the Rocky Mountain continental divide via the historic Howse Pass. Once over the divide the crew descended into the North Saskatchewan River and across the Great Plains. Throughout the summer months, the Odyssey proceeded east amid record flooding in Manitoba, through small Canadian Shield sheltered lakes separated by countless portages, and past the cliffs and islands the Great Lakes. With the onset of fall, the crew rode the tides of the St. Lawrence, portaged into the St. John River basin, and coasted to the Bay of Fundy.

They overcome gruelling portages, clouds of mosquitoes, food shortages, persistent wind and waves, freighter traffic, poison ivy, and having six independent people being interdependent, continuously for six months. They are quick to delight in the beauty of the scenery surrounding them and the simplicity of travelling with everything needed in their boats for survival and creating a home at every campsite.

The Cross Canada Canoe Odyssey was born out of a love of fresh water and fueled by a lust for adventure. As the Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s 2011 Expedition of the Year, the Odyssey strove to advocate for the importance of freshwater to Canada and partnered with organizations that are working hard to benefit Canadian waterways: the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Canadian Heritage Rivers System.

Experience a fresh view of Canada from the water, an absolutely important aspect of the Canadian environment, heritage and cultural identity.

CH insights sought for Calgary Herald article on climate-related risks to the ski industry

Professor John Pomeroy was recently asked by the Calgary Herald for his thoughts on the likely risks to North American ski resorts of diminishing alpine snowpacks as a result of changing climatic conditions.

Both modelled projections of future snowpack, and trends derived from data gathered over recent decades, strongly indicate that there is a risk of many mountain ranges in the western USA and Canada moving into the transient snow zone, and that this is likely to occur well within the coming century.

The article is available in its original form here, and as a PDF here.

AGU Press Conference Focuses on CH Snowmelt Research

One of twenty press conferences at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU – 15-19 December in San Francisco, California) focused on CH snowmelt research.

  • MSc student Stacey Dumanski is studying increased spring and early summer flooding in the prairies due to changing climate and wetland drainage.
  • Dr Danny Marks is a CCRN collaborator studying rain-on-snow melt in the US Pacific NW.
  • Prof. John Pomeroy’s presentation discussed the June 2013 rain-on-snow event which contributed to flood generation in the headwaters of the Saskatchewan River Basin in the Canadian Rockies. It was also covered in an article by the Calgary Herald, available in its original form here, and as a PDF here.

The conference is available for online streaming here.

Research Published on Environmental Implications of Global Beaver Population Recoveries

CH Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr Colin Whitfield, together with CH’s Dr Cherie Westbrook and colleagues from the Global Institute for Water Security and School of Environment and Sustainability, recently published a research paper describing the environmental ramifications of beaver population recoveries around the globe.

The paper, in The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ journal AMBIO, is available here: releases describing the new knowledge it has generated are available from Springer, and from the U of S Media Relations office (here and here).

The National Post also ran an article on the paper in its December 19th issue, here.

Research Seminar – Wednesday 10th December

A select group of Centre for Hydrology graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be presenting previews of their thesis proposals, research findings, and forthcoming AGU talks at a special CH seminar. The full order of battle is available here.

The seminar will be held in 146 Kirk Hall on Wednesday 10th December in Kirk Hall from 10am-12:30pm (Saskatchewan time).

All invited, feel free to pass on to colleagues that may be interested.

PDF Opportunities at CH and GIWS

Applications are invited for three Post-Doctoral Fellowships in cold regions hydrological modelling in the Centre for Hydrology and Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.

Large-scale Modelling – snow model development, including data assimilation
Snow and cold regions processes are extremely important to understand for hydrological forecasting in the Prairie Provinces. A PDF is required to build upon past work to incorporate state-of-the-art snow processes critical to proper snowpack development in the Prairie Provinces, as well as new techniques for estimating snow accumulation and melt properly in Mountainous, Prairie and Boreal Forest biomes. This research will draw on ground-based and remotely sensed data and model products, as well as a network of observatories for model evaluation and further development, and include intercomparison with international modelling systems, including the UK’s JULES and USA’s WRF models. Progress has already led to development and preliminary testing of an improved Prairie land surface algorithm; this work will be developed further for large-scale application. The successful applicant will have excellent computational and programming skills, previous experience of hydrological modelling and ideally of cold region processes and data assimilation.

Modelling for the Diagnosis of Environmental Change
A PDF is required to develop modelling tools for the diagnosis of change using cold region hydrological and hydro-ecological process models within a framework of uncertainty analysis, and to support their uptake and application in process and modelling studies across the network. The successful applicant will have excellent computational and programming skills and previous experience of algorithm development and analysis of model performance using multi-objective, Monte-Carlo based methods for parameter identifiability and uncertainty analysis.

Large-scale Modelling – assimilation of improved precipitation products
Remote sensing estimates of precipitation and high resolution modelling present exciting opportunities for improved hydrological forecasting. A PDF is required to undertake analysis of the strengths and limitations for large-scale hydrological modelling of various precipitation products that are currently available or in development. This includes ground-based data products, the CaPA merged re-analysis and data product, GPM remote sensing data, and high resolution atmospheric modelling. The successful applicant will have excellent computational skills, previous experience of remote sensing and ideally also of data assimilation for hydrological modelling. Good programming skills will be an advantage.

These posts will be able to take advantage of the NSERC Changing Cold Regions Network http://www.ccrnetwork.ca/ – CCRN is investigating a set of critical cold region environments, including the Western Cordillera, Western Boreal Forest, Lowland Permafrost and Prairies, and their integrated response at the scales of the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie river basins and the regional climate system. Environment Canada (EC) is a key partner in CCRN, and has a particular interest in improving its large-scale modelling capability, i.e. land surface schemes and large-scale hydrological models. While primarily based in Saskatoon, modellers will be encouraged to engage with science conducted from the U of S Coldwater Laboratory in the Centre for Hydrology’s Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory http://www.usask.ca/hydrology/CRHO.php.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Kate Wilson, Executive Assistant, GIWS, with a copy of their CV, resume and a cover letter.

Seeking World-Class Students and Postdoctoral Fellows in Water-Related Research

The Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan is continuing to build a $30+ million interdisciplinary experimental and modelling research program in Western Canada. We invite applications for graduate studentships and postdoctoral fellowships for research in the following areas. For more information and full listings, visit www.usask.ca/water.

  • Hydrological Modelling & Data Assimilation
  • Diagnosis of Environmental Change (PDF) –develop modelling tools for diagnosis of change (using hydrological/hydro-ecological process models) within framework of uncertainty analysis.
  • Assimilation of Improved Precipitation Products (PDF) –analysis of strengths/limitations for large-scale hydrological modelling of various precipitation products & associated modelling uncertainty.
  • Snow Model Development (PDF) –build on previous work to incorporate improved snowpack development & assimilate remote sensing snow data into existing large-scale models.
  • Watershed Modelling & System Identification (PDF) –address issues including scale, transferability, non-stationarity, complexity v. fidelity, uncertainty, architecture &parameterization, calibration.
  • Water Resources Modelling (PhD) –develop watershed modelling/management framework to represent scale-appropriate natural & human-induced processes (with extensive optimization/uncertainty analysis).
  • Artificial Intelligence in Water Resources (masters) –develop Artificial Neural Network tools for various applications in water resources modelling/management.
  • Hydrological Process Modelling (masters, possibly PhD) –application of mathematical modelling to address climate & land use change impacts on hydrological processes in the southern boreal forest.
  • Applied Limnology (PhD or masters) -effects of climate change on lakes, effects of agricultural activity on water quality, and algal bloom ecology.
  • Ecosystem Monitoring and Analysis (PhD) –fine-scale patterns of tree growth and allocation in the southern boreal forest.
  • GIS and Remote Sensing (PDF) –support research/understanding of the hydrological, hydraulic & ice regimes of Mackenzie and Saskatchewan River basins.

Review of applications begins 25 November 2014 and continues until suitable candidates are identified.

Prairie Hydrological Modelling Webinar, Monday November 17th

Prof. John Pomeroy will be giving a webinar on The Impact of Wetland Drainage on the Hydrology of a Northern Prairie Watershed to the Association of State Wetland Managers on Monday November 17th at 2 pm Saskatchewan time (1 pm Mountain time).

The talk will detail CH research at Smith Creek, with respect to the hydrological implications of its changing climate and the implications of wetland drainage, as investigated through hydrological model simulations.

If you would like to know more about this research, the webinar will be available at this link.  Thanks are due to co-authors Stacey Dumanski, Logan Fang, Kevin Shook, Cherie Westbrook and Xulin Guo.

Abstract: The Prairie Hydrological Model simulates blowing snow redistribution, snowmelt, infiltration to frozen soils and the fill and spill of networks of prairie wetlands.  The model was used to simulate the hydrology of Smith Creek, Saskatchewan, Canada with various wetland extent scenarios.  This model simulation exercise shows that prairie wetland drainage can increase annual and peak daily flows substantially, and that notable increases to estimates of the annual volume and peak daily flow of the flood of record have derived from wetland drainage to date and will proceed with further wetland drainage.

The Nature of Things features CH research

CBC’s documentary program The Nature of Things has produced an episode called Chasing Snowflakes, which features The Centre for Hydrology’s research in the Canadian Rockies: it will air on Thursday, Nov. 13th at 8pm on CBC TV local channels.

More information is available on the epoisode’s web-page, here.