On Monday 10 July 2017, Paul Whitfield, Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Hydrology and Scientist Emeritus with Environment and Climate Change Canada, gave an invited Plenary talk titled Assessing hydrological and climatological models against observations at the Banff International Research Station workshop, Challenges in the Statistical Modelling of Stochastic Processes for the Natural Sciences.
The workshop, which was attended by forty eminent statisticians from across Europe and North America, focused on statistical models for natural science phenomena. It is now recognized that stochastic models whose behaviour more closely mirrors the scientific structure of the system under study provide a more interpretable framework for analyzing data.
Whitfield’s talk, which provides a thought-provoking discussion of how we might better assess how well our models can reproduce natural phenomena in hydrology and climatology, may be viewed online here.
Professor John Pomeroy, Director of the Centre for Hydrology and Associate Director of the Global Water Futures initiative, has been elevated to the rank of ‘Distinguished Professor’ by the University of Saskatchewan.
The title “honours and celebrates exceptional achievement in research, scholarly, or artistic work by University of Saskatchewan faculty or emeriti. This honorary title is a lifetime award that becomes Distinguished Professor Emeritus upon retirement”.
The awarding committee was impressed by Professor Pomeroy’s many research accomplishments and outstanding contributions to the university, and particularly by his work in the hydrology and global water policies, which they said has been “indicative of his visionary approach”, earning him a strong reputation in this branch of science.
CH / GIWS alumna Emily Anderson was awarded the 2017 Bill Stolte Prize for the best student paper at this year’s Canadian Water Resources Association’s conference, which was held in Lethbridge (AB) in June.
Her talk, based on her MSc research, was titled Modelling changes in multi-decadal streamflow contributions – Bologna Glacier, NWT.
Emily is now employed as a Hydrologist-in-Training with Sasakatchewan’s Water Security Agency.
Professor John Pomeroy, Director of the University of Saskatchewan’s Centre for Hydrology and Associate Director of the Global Water Futures Initiative, has been awarded the highly prestigious John Tuzo Wilson Medal for outstanding contributions to geophysical sciences by the Canadian Geophysical Union.
Professor Pomeroy is the third member of U of S faculty to have received the award – and the second hydrologist, following Professor Don Gray in 2000.
Full details of the award are available here.
In the wake of widespread floods in several areas of Canada this spring, Professor John Pomeroy, Director of the University of Sasakatchewan’s Centre for Hydrology and Associate Director of the Global Water Futures (GWF) research program, has been asked by several media outlets to provide commentary on the part played by climate-change in these events, and to describe how hydrological research is helping to improve predictive capabilities.
- CTV News, on the need for a new Canada-wide strategy to predict floods and mitigate their impacts (online video).
- CBC Radio interview (audio).
- National Post, primarily on flooding in Ontario (news article).
The new Canmore premises occupied by CH’s Coldwater Laboratory held a A “Grand Opening” of over the 4th and 5th of May 2017.
Events included an Open House at the lab on both days, a book-reading by CH member and author Bob Sandford, and a reception and Science Town Hall at the Opera House, attended by the Honourable Shannon Phillips, Alberta Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate-Change Office.
The opening of the new facility, and also of the new Global Water Futures research program which has enabled the move, was covered by several news outlets –
The major new Global Water Futures research program, to which CH is a major contributor, has posted nine opportunities for Post-Doctoral Fellowships (PDFs) related to hydrology and water resources.
PDFs are sought in three main areas of interest:
- Hydrological & Water Quality Forecasting (5 positions, in flood forecasting, seasonal and drought forecasting, data assimilation, river-ice modelling and water quality)
- Climate and Diagnostic Hydrological & Water-Quality Modelling (2 positions, in climate-change and hydrological modelling)
- Water Resources Modelling (2 positions)
More details are available here.
A presentation delivered by CH Post-Doctoral Fellow Nic Wayand (on behalf of CH co-authors Chris Marsh and John Pomeroy) at the Western Snow Conference in Boise, ID in April was awarded the meeting’s overall Best Paper prize.
The talk, titled Evaluating the impact of blowing snow and avalanche redistribution on modelling alpine snowpack and snowcovered area over the Canadian Rockies, explored the importance of including metrics describing the redistribution of snow by wind and avalanches in snowpack models, and the potential of high-resolution remotely-sensed imagery to provide information against which to validate efforts to do so.
Many congratulations to Nic and his CH colleagues!
Professor John Pomeroy has contributed to an article in the Winnipeg Free Press which describes how the convergence of changing climatic influences with continuing major efforts to squeeze greater productivity from farmland has resulted in widespread flooding across large areas of south-west Manitoba.
Local livestock farmers see the immediate culprit as being the continued implementation (often illegally) of drainage schemes in upstream areas, primarily by grain producers. While the removal of sloughs in the natural ‘Prairie Pothole’ landscapes adds productive acreage, it also reduces local storage capacity, thereby facilitating runoff and artificially augmenting flows further downstream. The problem is compounded by the damage wrought to soil structure by progressively more intensive and industrial agricultural practices during the past century, which has reduced its ability to hold moisture internally.
This year, these effects are exacerbated by the past winter’s unusually heavy snowpack. Increasing incidence of heavy fall rainfall, and ice crusts resulting from spring rain-on-snow events, have also been found to amplify the overall problem.
The article is available online in its original form, and for download in PDF format.
Professor John Pomeroy has contribute to an extended article in the Regina Leader-Post which addresses the problem of proliferating unlicensed drainage across large areas of Saskatchewan.
The main issue reported is that drainage systems dug to improve agricultural potential has been reducing natural storage capacity and increasing hydrological ‘flashiness’ through much of the region, resulting in elevated risks of flooding. These problems are being amplified by changing rainfall patterns, with increasing frequency of multiple-day rain events.
The article is available in its original online version, and also saved in PDF format.