Congratulations to Holly Annand, who has received the Dr. Jean Murray Memorial Scholarship from the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW)! More information is available at the links below.
‘Immediate action’ needed as heat wave, drought affect farmers, ranchers
The Star Phoenix
July 28, 2021
Heat waves and historically-high temperatures this spring and summer across the Prairies and B.C. have affected ranchers, farmers and the agricultural sector.
Southern Lakes water levels continue to dip slightly in Yukon as flood response continues
July 26, 2021
The water levels in Yukon’s Southern Lakes are slowly going down — at least for now.
In a flood update issued over the weekend, the territorial government said Bennett, Tagish, and Marsh lakes, as well as Lake Laberge, had all gone down between 0.9 and 1.5 centimetres in 24 hours.
All four remain well above 2007 levels, in particular Lake Laberge, which is currently 32.1 centimetres higher.
Read the article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/southern-lakes-yukon-water-levels-1.6117764
Climate change has arrived in Sask. And it’s ‘ugly.’
July 22, 2021
As Saskatchewan experiences severe heat and dryness, CTV News spoke to John Pomeroy, the Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change and director of the Global Water Futures Program at the University of Saskatchewan, to learn what’s behind it. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Read the article here: https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/climate-change-has-arrived-in-sask-and-it-s-ugly-1.5519599
NSERC CREATE for Water Security leaves lasting impact
University of Saskatchewan News
July 9, 2021
As a unique water security training program wraps up at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), the program’s leaders look back on the past six years as an overwhelming success.
‘Drought brewing’: Saskatchewan farmers hope for rain
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
May 19, 2021
As of April 30, Agriculture Canada said 99 per cent of Saskatchewan’s farmland was “abnormally dry” or worse
Climate Crisis: Elephants in the Room are Getting Nastier
Inter Press Service News Agency
The year 2020 will forever be notorious for the COVID-19 pandemic but it might also be known by historians for a precipitous rise in second order climate change consequences — a new elephant in the room.
Familiar first order consequences, as documented in the World Meteorological Organization’s most recent State of the Global Climate report in April (at https://bit.ly/3eyrPwU), were the ongoing temperature rise over land and sea, melting sea ice and glaciers, higher sea levels, and changes in precipitation patterns.
Also in 2020, continuing a decade-long trend: widespread drought, heat waves, wildfires, cyclones, and flooding, especially in Africa and Asia but also in South America and the United States.
All these led to the second order consequences: Greater food insecurity and an accelerated explosion in involuntary human migration and displacement worldwide.
The spatial extent of hydrological and landscape changes across the mountains and prairies of Canada in the Mackenzie and Nelson River basins based on data from a warm-season time window
Paul H. Whitfield, Philip D. A. Kraaijenbrink, Kevin R. Shook, and John W. Pomeroy
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Volume 25, Issue 5
East of the Continental Divide in the cold interior of Western Canada, the Mackenzie and Nelson River basins have some of the world’s most extreme and variable climates, and the warming climate is changing the landscape, vegetation, cryosphere, and hydrology. Available data consist of streamflow records from a large number (395) of natural (unmanaged) gauged basins, where flow may be perennial or temporary, collected either year-round or during only the warm season, for a different series of years between 1910 and 2012. An annual warm-season time window where observations were available across all stations was used to classify (1) streamflow regime and (2) seasonal trend patterns. Streamflow trends were compared to changes in satellite Normalized Difference Indices.
Clustering using dynamic time warping, which overcomes differences in streamflow timing due to latitude or elevation, identified 12 regime types. Streamflow regime types exhibit a strong connection to location; there is a strong distinction between mountains and plains and associated with ecozones. Clustering of seasonal trends resulted in six trend patterns that also follow a distinct spatial organization. The trend patterns include one with decreasing streamflow, four with different patterns of increasing streamflow, and one without structure. The spatial patterns of trends in mean, minimum, and maximum of Normalized Difference Indices of water and snow (NDWI and NDSI) were similar to each other but different from Normalized Difference Index of vegetation (NDVI) trends. Regime types, trend patterns, and satellite indices trends each showed spatially coherent patterns separating the Canadian Rockies and other mountain ranges in the west from the poorly defined drainage basins in the east and north. Three specific areas of change were identified: (i) in the mountains and cold taiga-covered subarctic, streamflow and greenness were increasing while wetness and snowcover were decreasing, (ii) in the forested Boreal Plains, particularly in the mountainous west, streamflows and greenness were decreasing but wetness and snowcover were not changing, and (iii) in the semi-arid to sub-humid agricultural Prairies, three patterns of increasing streamflow and an increase in the wetness index were observed. The largest changes in streamflow occurred in the eastern Canadian Prairies.
Read the full publication here.
Subalpine forest water use behaviour and evapotranspiration during two hydrologically contrasting growing seasons in the Canadian Rockies
Lindsey E. Langs, Richard M. Petrone, John W. Pomeroy
Hydrological Processes, Volume 35, Issue 5
April 2, 2021
Hydrological processes in mountain headwater basins are changing as climate and vegetation change. Interactions between hydrological processes and subalpine forest ecological function are important to mountain water supplies due to their control on evapotranspiration (ET). Improved understanding of the sensitivity of these interactions to seasonal and interannual changes in snowmelt and summer rainfall is needed as these interactions can impact forest growth, succession, health, and susceptibility to wildfire. To better understand this sensitivity, this research examined ET for a sub-alpine forest in the Canadian Rockies over two contrasting growing seasons and quantified the contribution of transpiration (T) from the younger tree population to overall stand ET. The younger population was focused on to permit examination of trees that have grown under the effect of recent climate change and will contribute to treeline migration, and subalpine forest densification and succession. Research sites were located at Fortress Mountain Research Basin, Kananaskis, Alberta, where the subalpine forest examined is composed of Abies lasiocarpa (Subalpine fir) and Picea engelmannii (Engelmann spruce). Seasonal changes in water availability from snowmelt, precipitation, soil moisture reserves yielded stark differences in T and ET between 2016 and 2017. ET was higher in the drier year (2017), which had late snowmelt and lower summer rainfall than in the wetter year (2016) that had lower snowmelt and a rainy summer, highlighting the importance of spring snowmelt recharge of soil moisture. However, stand T of the younger trees (73% of forest population) was greater (64 mm) in 2016 (275 mm summer rainfall) than 2017 (39 mm T, 147 mm summer rainfall), and appears to be sensitive to soil moisture decreases in fall, which are largely a function of summer period rainfall. Relationships between subalpine forest water use and different growing season and antecedent (snowmelt period) hydrological conditions clarify the interactions between forest water use and alpine hydrology, which can lead to better anticipation of the hydrological response of subalpine forest-dominated basins to climate variability and change.
Read the full article here.