Global Water Futures featured in Water News Magazine article

Global Water Futures: Solutions to Water Threats in an Era of Global Change
by Stacey Dumanski, Stephanie Merrill, Chris DeBeer, John Pomeroy

Water News
Volume 39, number 3 – Fall/Winter 2020

Canada is losing its cool.  The climate in Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, with some areas in the north tripling that pace. Precipitation is changing too, with increases in many parts of the country and greater concentrations in floods and droughts. Climate and water are fundamentally linked in the earth system – water governs the climate and in turn climate affects water availability and timing. Together they support diverse ecosystems and aspects of water for human use: food production, manufacturing and recreation. This rapid climate warming, coupled with land use changes, has already resulted in destructive changes to the Canadian hydrology and that of cold regions around the world. Snowpacks are declining, glaciers are retreating with accelerated melt, precipitation patterns are changing, all while floods are intensifying and risk of drought and wildfires are increasing. All of these changes pose great challenges to the security of our critical infrastructure, ecosystems, and human health.

Water News Magazine is available to members of the Canadian Water Resources Association.  Membership information can be viewed at:


Principles of Hydrology course to be offered online this January

Principles of Hydrology Short Course, Geography 827
Dr. John Pomeroy
University of Saskatchewan

Course Synopsis
The University of Saskatchewan Centre for Hydrology with the assistance of the Canadian Society for Hydrological Sciences (CSHS) is offering an intensive course on the physical principles of hydrology with particular relevance to Canadian and cold regions conditions. Factors governing hydrological processes in Canadian landscapes will be discussed including precipitation, interception, energy balance, snow accumulation, snowmelt, glaciers, evaporation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, groundwater movement and streamflow routing and hydraulics. These processes will be framed within the context of distinctly Canadian landscape features such as high mountains, glaciers, peatlands, prairies, agricultural fields, tundra, boreal forests, frozen rivers and seasonally frozen ground. Students will be exposed to an overview of each subject, with recent scientific findings and new cutting edge theories, tools and techniques. They will complete numerical and essay assignments to develop skills in problem solving and in synthesizing complex hydrological concepts. Students will emerge from the course with a deeper understanding of physical hydrological processes and how they interact to produce catchment water budgets and streamflow response.

The course is intended for hydrology and water resources graduate students and early to midlevel career water resource engineers, hydrologists, aquatic ecologists and technologists who are either working directly in hydrology and water resources or are looking to broaden their understanding of hydrological systems and processes. This physical science course is quantitative in nature and so a firm foundation in basic calculus and physics at the first year university level and some undergraduate hydrology or hydraulics training is strongly recommended.

The course will be delivered online M-F for two weeks starting Jan 11th. Each morning will have two 90 min. lecture sessions (0830-1000h, 1030-1200h MST). Each afternoon will have supplementary lecture material, introduction of assignments and an interactive Q & A session with the instructor of the morning’s lecture (1300-1500h). Lectures will be available as recordings and PDFs of slides after they are delivered.

All participants must apply for admission as a graduate student with the University of Saskatchewan if they are not already a graduate student at the U of S or another Canadian institution.  For more information about the course and how to apply, go to:

New Article – Freeze-Thaw Changes on the Tibetan Plateau

Freeze–Thaw Changes of Seasonally Frozen Ground on the Tibetan Plateau from 1960 to 2014

Siqiong Luo; Jingyuan Wang; John W. Pomeroy; Shihua Lyu

American Meteorological Society Journal of Climate,
Volume 33, Issue 2, pages 9427–9446.
October 2, 2020

The freeze–thaw changes of seasonally frozen ground (SFG) are an important indicator of climate change. Based on observed daily freeze depth of SFG from meteorological stations on the Tibetan Plateau (TP) from 1960 to 2014, the spatial–temporal characteristics and trends in SFG were analyzed, and the relationships between them and climatic and geographical factors were explored. Freeze–thaw changes of SFG on a regional scale were assessed by multiple regression functions. Results showed multiyear mean maximum freeze depth, freeze–thaw duration, freeze start date, and thaw end date that demonstrate obvious distribution characteristics of climatic zones. A decreasing trend in maximum freeze depth and freeze–thaw duration occurred on the TP from 1960 to 2014. The freeze start date has been later, and the thaw end date has been significantly earlier. The freeze–thaw changes of SFG significantly affected by soil hydrothermal conditions on the TP could be assessed by elevation and latitude or by air temperature and precipitation, due to their high correlations. The regional average of maximum freeze depth and freeze–thaw duration caused by climatic and geographical factors were larger than those averaged using meteorological station data because most stations are located at lower altitudes. Maximum freeze depth and freeze–thaw duration have decreased sharply since 2000 on the entire TP. Warming and wetting conditions of the soil resulted in a significant decrease in maximum freeze depth and freeze–thaw duration in the most area of the TP, while drying soil results in a slight increase of them in the southeast of the TP.

Read the full article here.

New Article – Where the river flows: How a proud history of water research led USask to be ranked No.1 in Canada

Oct 9, 2020

““It’s a tremendous testament to everyone involved to have established such excellence here, and I’m very proud to be a part of it,” said Dr. Jay Famiglietti (PhD) who came to USask in 2018 as the Canada 150 Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing and executive director of the USask Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS).

The rise to the top has been an inspiring story of building on a strong foundation of water science excellence, leadership at many levels, and recruitment of top talent…”

Go here to read the full article.

Jay Famiglietti honoured with prestigious hydrology award

Mark Ferguson, and USask Research Profile and Impact
Oct 1, 2020

University of Saskatchewan (USask) hydrologist Jay Famiglietti has been awarded the 2020 Hydrologic Sciences Award by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for outstanding contributions to the science of water over his career.

Famiglietti, executive director of USask’s Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS), has led development of novel remote sensing tools for hydrology and water security, particularly the capability to do remote sensing of groundwater using the NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission.

These satellite remote sensing techniques and advanced computer models have made it possible to document how the water cycle and freshwater resources are affected by climate change and to map how water availability is changing globally. The models are used by major climate labs across North America.

Read the full article here.

Virtual Book Launch – If Sylvie had Nine Lives by Leona Theis

“If Sylvie had Nine Lives chronicles the various lives of the character Sylvie, who in her ninth life ends up a PhD student in the Centre for Hydrology studying snowmelt flooding in Marmot Creek Research Basin, Kananaskis. The description of her fieldwork trip to Fisera Ridge will resonate with those who have conducted snow hydrology fieldwork in the Canadian Rockies and elsewhere. And overall, it is an engaging and enjoyable book”.
-John Pomeroy

Join Leona Theis for the virtual launch of ‘If Sylvie Had Nine Lives’

New Article – Canada Water Agency

Canada Water Agency will help protect and sustain Canada’s water resources, say USask water scientists

USask News
September 29, 2020

The new Canada Water Agency—announced in the recent federal Throne Speech—is the first critical step toward transforming how water is managed across the country, said John Pomeroy, director of the University of Saskatchewan (USask)-led Global Water Futures (GWF) program.

Read the article here.

Professor David Male 1939-2020

The University of Saskatchewan hydrological community has lost one of the developers of hydrology at USask. Dr. David Male, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at USask, was one of the pioneers of the study of snow with seminal studies of snowmelt energetics, blowing snow transport, snow sublimation, infiltration into frozen soils and the development of hydrological models. Together with Professor Don Gray he edited and wrote parts of the 776 page Handbook of Snow: Principles, Processes, Management and Use in 1980 – still the most comprehensive book on snow and a key foundational book

Professor Male contributed a strong physics-based approach to the study of cold regions hydrology and emphasized the need for results to be based on firm physical principles and advanced experimentation and observations in outdoor environments. He was amongst the first to identify the major problems with solving the “energy equation” for snowmelt and then to offer solutions using coupled energy and mass budgets, dimensional analysis, turbulent transfer and radiative transfer theory. Working with Raoul Granger, Don Gray and Tom Brown, he deployed advanced instrumentation controlled by computers for snowmelt studies at remote sites in the early 1970s when this presented considerable technical challenges. He was active in all aspects of snow science from leading advanced field studies at the USask Division of Hydrology’s Bad Lake research site, to developing analytical solutions for mathematical problems, writing computer models, training students, and writing scientific papers and books.

Professor Male was a lead faculty member in the Division of Hydrology and his work at the University of Saskatchewan laid the foundation for USask’s development of cold regions hydrology and water security into current areas of institutional strength. He also made important contributions to the work of Environment Canada, National Research Council of Canada, American Geophysical Union, US Office of Hydrology (National Weather Service), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Saskatchewan Environment, Alberta Environment and other groups. Dr. Male was an excellent teacher who could explain difficult engineering concepts exceptionally clearly to his students. He will be remembered by his former students and colleagues not only as an exceptionally brilliant scholar who made formidable advances in science, but also as a very nice, warm, supportive and friendly person who welcomed and encouraged many into engineering, science and academia. Professor Male passed away in Saskatoon earlier this month, his full obituary can be found here.
Many of his publications can be found here.

New Article- The Future We Want, The UN We Need

By Robert W. Sandford,
Senior Fellow of the Centre for Hydrology and Global Water Futures Chair at United Nations University

Inter Press Service News Agency
September 24, 2020

As we reflect on this week and celebrate the United Nations’ rise in the war-ravaged world some 75 years ago, humanity is again being asked to lay the foundation for a new world.

As in 1945, we are asked to envision the world that emerges from a global catastrophe. Similarly, as well, in our post-pandemic world we will need to make not a partial but a full transformation, one in which human self-interest again aligns with planetary realities.

Such a global reset can produce universal benefits in the form of a healthier, more just, safer, kinder and more spirituality connected society.

Read this important article here.

Online Cutting Edge Lecture in Science: Freshwater Futures for Canada and the World

McGill University Free Zoom event
September 24, 6pm-7pm EDT (4pm-5pm CST)

Canada and the world are facing unprecedented water-related challenges. Climate warming and human actions are altering precipitation patterns, reducing snow levels, accelerating glacier melting, intensifying floods, and increasing risk of droughts, while pollution from population growth and industrialization is degrading water systems. With such unprecedented change, it is clear that the historical patterns of water availability are no longer a reliable guide for the future.

Join Dr. John Pomeroy, winner of the 2020 Miroslaw Romanowski Medal, for a free cutting-edge lecture in science that will delve into these issues. Dr. Pomeroy will present the results of his research and show how Canada can lead the world in forecasting, preparing for and managing water futures in the face of dramatically increasing risks.

Brought to you by the Redpath Museum.

RSVP for this event here in order to receive the Zoom link.