April 24, 2020
University of Saskatchewan (USask) hydrology PhD student Caroline Aubry-Wake, who studies the impact of climate change on glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, has received the Stan Paterson Scholarship for Student Excellence in Canadian Glaciology.
The award is given by the Canadian Geophysical Union (CGU) to a young hydrologist in honour of Dr. Stan Paterson (May 20, 1924 – October 8, 2013), a leading Canadian glaciologist.
Aubry-Wake is member of the USask Global Institute for Water Security and an executive member of the USask-led Global Water Futures Program – Young Professionals.
According to Aubry-Wake, since 1985 Canadian glaciers have shrunk 15 per cent, a number that could rise to 100 per cent by the end of the century.
Such a steep increase in glacier loss in the Rockies would have a devastating impact on mountain streams in Western Canada, including a significant reduction in river water supply, which would threaten cold-water fish and ecosystems and reduce water resources for hydroelectricity on the Prairies and in B.C.
“Estimated glacier loss in the Rockies by the end of the century ranges from 75 to 100 per cent,” Aubry-Wake said. “But there’s only a few studies investigating the details of future glacier melt in Western Canada. My research will help to sharpen these estimates by focusing on three glaciers, to improve our understanding of the key processes responsible for glacier retreat at those sites.”
Aubry-Wake conducts research at the Peyto Glacier in Banff National Park, Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park and Bologna Glacier in the Ragged Range, Northwest Territories.
Her research combines mountain fieldwork and a mathematical hydrological model to assess changes in water resources.