CH Director Receives Prestigious CGU Award

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.

Floods Reinforce Need for National Strategy

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).



New Coldwater Lab in Canmore Officially Open

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 –

CH Paper Success at WSC

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!

Multiple Drivers of Flooding in SW Manitoba

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.

Illegal Drainage and Climate Change Increasing Saskatchewan Flood Risks

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.


CH MSc Student Awarded CFUW Scholarship

CH MSc student Emily Anderson has been awarded the Dorothy Friebel Graduate Scholarship, which has a value of $1500, by the Canadian Federation of University Women in Saskatoon.

Emily’s research is focused on the glacial hydrology of the Ragged Range of the NWT’s Selwyn Mountains. She is studying under the supervision of Dr John Pomeroy and Mike Dumuth, Emeritus Scientist in the Cryosphere Geoscience Section of the Geological Survey of Canada.

CBC Profiles CH Use of Drones to Gauge Snow Conditions

CBC has profiled CH’s use of small remotely-piloted aerial systems to obtain detailed imagery of mountain terrain and snowpack on The National and its website.

By gathering large numbers of overlapping high-resolution pictures from the ‘drone’, detailed three-dimensional models of the land surface may be generated. Doing so at regular intervals through the winter shows how the shape of the surface changes, as snow falls and the snowpack evolves, in response to differential redistribution and ablation in settings with contrasting exposures to wind and sun.

This informs the refinement of computer models which mimic changes in the spatial distribution of snow depth, and so help to identify locations, volumes and rates of melting, and thus predict runoff. Because most river flows in this area are fed by meltwater, this in turn provides valuable information to guide monitoring of key water resources metrics, including the development of conditions likely to result in drought or flooding.

This work is part of the major new Global Water Futures network, headed from the University of Saskatchewan, and for which CH director Professor John Pomeroy is the Associate Director.

CH PhD student wins AGU Cryosphere Innovation Award

At the Fall AGU Meeting in San Francisco this December, Christopher Marsh was successful in the Flash Freeze competition for a Cryosphere Innovation Award.

The award is given in recognition of innovative student-led research in the Cryospheric Sciences. The Innovation Award for Cryospheric Sciences is awarded once a year to students within the Cryosphere section who show great potential and innovative work within the field, to provide the students with resources, in the form of mini-grants, to advance their innovation. Innovative projects may include but are not limited to instrument design, model adaptation, field techniques, studies in new geographic regions, studies involving new collaborations including interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations, science communication and education, and remote sensing methods.

Chris won the award for his presentation The Canadian Hydrological Model: a Multiscale, Multiphysics, Variable Resolution Mesh Simulation System for Cold Regions.

More details are available here and here.

Canmore Press Profiles New Coldwater Lab

Canmore’s Crag & Canyon has published an article profiling CH’s Coldwater Laboratory.

The lab. has just moved to new premises in the town from its former site at the University of Calgary’s BioGeoSciences Institute in Kananaskis Country, where it was established in 2009.

The new facility will provide the base for an augmented complement of scientists studying processes related to water, snow and ice in the S.E. Canadian Rockies, funded by the University of Saskatchewan’s new Global Water Futures program.

The article is available online here.