SGI Canada Prairie Hydrometeorology Program
The unique geographic setting and environmental characteristics of the Prairies are thought to make them particularly susceptible to extreme weather events as a corollary of likely climate-change scenarios. This study is aimed at identifying likely shifts in patterns, frequencies and intensities of severe rain and wind storms in the Prairies within this context, and thereby to contribute to the prediction and mitigation of these events.

This five-year research program is made possible by a gift to the University of Saskatchewan by SGI Canada, and led by Dr Kevin Shook.

The study aims first to describe past patterns of extreme events within the context of prevailing climatic influences, in order to support the development of software models linking both sets of phenomena: these models will then be used to forecast possible future storm frequencies under likely climate-change scenarios.

This will be achieved by building a database of historical wind-speed and rainfall in the Prairies, compiled from both archived data and new field observations, in order to generate sets of synoptic statistics. Subsequent analysis of these statistics will permit the detection of any trends in the frequency-distribution of extreme wind and rain events.

Investigations will then focus on describing changes in average summer length, rainfall and wind-speed under various climate change scenarios, as predicted by best available climate models. This in turn will support the prediction of future distributions of extreme rain and wind events in the Prairies for these scenarios.

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Centre for Hydrology
University of Saskatchewan
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