University of Saskatchewan

September 20, 2014   

Rapid change in snow and ice in mountain and northern environments makes water supply prediction uncertain

U of S hydrologist John Pomeroy leads the national IP3 network aimed at improving water resource prediction in the face of climate change.
September 08, 2011

Scientists from across Canada are gathering inSaskatoon September 9 to present their findings on shrinking snow packs, thawing permafrost, and melting glaciers and how they will affect our future water supply.

“Our agriculture industry and our cities on the Canadian Prairies are extremely dependent on theSaskatchewan Riversystem for irrigation and crucial municipal water supplies,” says John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change.

“Likewise, the interplay between climate change and water in our northern regions affects everything from transportation and industry to traditional livelihoods.”

Pomeroy leads the Improved Processes and Parameterization for Prediction in Cold Regions (IP3) research network based at the University of Saskatchewan and funded through the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.

For the past five years, IP3 researchers from across the country have been gathering data to link real-world observation to powerful computer modeling tools. Their aim is to provide accurate modeling of the timing and volume of spring runoff and summer stream flows fromCanada’s mountains and cold regions.

The goal is to better understand and predict the behaviour of water, snow and ice in these regions. This knowledge is essential to guide decision-makers in dealing with the impacts of climate change by creating viable water use policy governing food security, infrastructure development, energy production, and ecosystem health in western and northernCanada.

IP3 will be presenting the network’s collective results at the National Hydrology Research Centre at 11 Innovation Boulevard in Saskatoon on September 9th from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister Responsible for the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, will open this final IP3 workshop. Presentation topics include:

  • Snow accumulation, redistribution and losses in theRockyMountainheadwaters of theSouth Saskatchewan River
  • Model improvements used to better understand snowmelt and rainfall induced prairie flooding
  • Thawing processes and water movement in frozen soils and permafrost landscapes
  • Glacier processes in theRocky Mountains
  • New understanding of groundwater storage processes in the high alpine environment
  • Measuring and modeling of lake evaporation
  • Future directions in cold regions water resource research

The IP3 Network will also discuss how to preserve the scientific capacity to apply and further improve these computer models now that the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Models has ceased funding research activities.

More information on the IP3 network can be found at


For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
University Research Communications

John Pomeroy
IP3 Principal Investigator

Nadine Kapphahn
IP3 Network Manager

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