During the period 1992 to 2007, the US and North America benefited from three Regional Hydroclimate Projects (RHP):
- The GEWEX Continental-Scale International Project (GCIP) that covered the Mississippi River Basin;
- The GEWEX Americas Prediction Project (GAPP), which covered the entire US region and parts of Mexico to account for the complete North American Monsoon System; and,
- The Mackenzie GEWEX Study (MAGS), which was a highly-regarded Canadian-led project to address cold season hydroclimate issues in the Mackenzie River basin.
These projects have now all concluded, leaving a void in the global program for North America in general and Canada in particular.
The Saskatchewan River Basin as a GEWEX RHP provides a much-needed regional-scale focus for integration of GEWEX science, based on detailed ground-based observations and integrated modelling and data assimilation of atmospheric, land surface and hydrological processes. It also plays a keystone role in linking Canadian and US hydroclimate science through integration with the proposed North American Water Project and the Canadian Changing Cold Regions Network, which addresses the whole of interior western Canada by including the Mackenzie and Peace-Athabasca rivers.
The SRB study will address each of the GEWEX ‘imperatives’:
- Datasets: Foster development of climate data records of atmosphere, water, land and energy related quantities, including metadata and uncertainty estimates.
- Analysis: Describe and analyze observed variations, trends and extremes (such as heat waves, floods and droughts) in water and energy-related quantities.
- Processes: Develop approaches to improve process-level understanding of energy and water cycles in support of improved land and atmosphere models.
- Modelling: Improve global and regional simulations and predictions of precipitation, clouds, and land hydrology, and the entire climate system, through accelerated development of models of the land and atmosphere.
- Applications: Attribute causes of variability, trends and extremes, and determine the predictability of energy and water cycles on global and regional bases in collaboration with the wider WCRP community.
- Technology transfer: Develop new observations, models, diagnostic tools and methods, data management, and other research products for multiple uses and transition to operational applications in partnership with climate and hydro-meteorological service providers.
- Capacity building: Promote and foster capacity building through training of scientists and outreach to the user community.
It will also address the four GEWEX Grand Challenges: Observations and Predictions of Precipitation, Global Water Resource Systems, Changes in Extremes, and Water and Energy Cycles.