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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-51
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-51
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Feb 2019

Research article | 12 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

A Review and Synthesis of Future Earth System Change in the Interior of Western Canada: Part I – Climate and Meteorology

Ronald E. Stewart1, Kit K. Szeto2, Barrie R. Bonsal3, John M. Hanesiak1, Bohdan Kochtubajda4, Yanping Li5, Julie M. Thériault6, Chris M. DeBeer7, Benita Y. Tam2, Zhenhua Li5, Zhuo Liu1, Jennifer A. Bruneau1, Sébastien Marinier6, and Dominic Matte8 Ronald E. Stewart et al.
  • 1Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  • 2Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 4Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 5Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 6Centre ESCER, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 7Centre for Hydrology and Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 8Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. The Interior of Western Canada, up to and including the Arctic, has experienced rapid change in its climate, hydrology, cryosphere and ecosystems and this is expected to continue. Although there is general consensus that warming will occur in the future, many critical issues remain. In this first of two articles, attention is placed on atmospheric-related issues that range from large scales down to individual precipitation events. Each of these is considered in terms of expected change organized by season and utilizing climate scenario information as well as thermodynamically-driven future climatic forcing simulations. Large scale atmospheric circulations affecting this region are generally projected to become stronger in each season and, coupled with warming temperatures, lead to enhancements of numerous water-related and temperature-related extremes. These include winter snowstorms, freezing rain, drought as well as atmospheric forcing of spring floods although not necessarily summer convection. Collective insights of these atmospheric findings are summarized in a consistent, connected physical framework.

Ronald E. Stewart et al.
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Short summary
This article examines future atmospheric-related phenomena across the interior of western Canada. Changes in large scale atmospheric circulation and extent of warming vary with season and these generally lead to increases in factors associated with extremes such as spring and early summer floods and drought, although not necessarily summer convection. The northward movement of the 0 °C isotherm will furthermore be associated with changes to hazardous conditions such as freezing rain.
This article examines future atmospheric-related phenomena across the interior of western...
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