PRAIRIE
  MEGADROUGHTS
 water, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior




              ...
Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
Renewable water resources, by country
     Brazil

    Russia

  Canada

       USA

     China

       India

Columbia

 ...
Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
Calgary
Photo: Haley Catton
Winnipeg
Photo: Manitoba Hydro
Net income, Manitoba Hydro
  3


  2


  0


       constant 2009 SEK (billions)
 -2


 -3
       1992           1994     ...
AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Lt. Brendan Evans
Past dynamics ➜ Future behavior

                        PRESENT




        PAST                      FUTURE
        Prec...
DECADAL VARIABILITY AND PRAIRIE WATER
    How important is decadal-to-multidecadal variability to the
1   hydroclimate of ...
DECADAL VARIABILITY AND PRAIRIE WATER
    How important is decadal-to-multidecadal variability to the
1   hydroclimate of ...
D E CA D AL CLIMAT E VA R I A B I L I T Y
PDO NEGATIVE
                  AMO NEGATIVE


                                                                       PDO N...
Where is decadal variability
                strong?
in precipitation
Noise
                        Interannual
     Trend

Multidecadal
                  Decadal
Normalized variance
                                                                                    10

60°N

        ...
The PDO fingerprint
                     on winter precipitation




    -0.6
correlation
                     Ault and St....
Winter precipitation - decadal band




0%          10%         20%        30% variance
Northern California winter precipitation




            Decadal variance = ~30 percent
Northern California




Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
Levee break, Sacramento River




Photo: California Department of Water Resources
Northern California




Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
D2M in the ENSO-PDO ‘null’




    -0.6
correlation
                         Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in s...
Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
CLIMATE HISTORY OF CANADA
                    Younger           Demise of Laurentide
                     Dryas           ...
D R OUGHT FROM P R A IR IE T R EES
MEGADROUGHT
      intensity at least equivalent to modern multiyear droughts
      duration longer than the several years ...
Martin-Philippe Girardin
            Canadian Forest Service


                                                         Gr...
Photo: Emma Watson
Photo: Greg Brooks
2008
1875
Photo: Erik Nielsen
Photo: Erik Nielsen
49
Photo: Erik Nielsen
Prairie tree-ring network
Palmer
Drought
Severity
Index
52
Calgary
southern Alberta
     10
                                                                            3

                  ...
southern Alberta
     10
                                                                               3

               ...
Drought history - western Prairies
       PDSI
  6

  4                                                                   ...
MEGADROUGHT
      intensity at least equivalent to modern multiyear droughts
      duration longer than the several years ...
58 oN


                                                  1718 - 1722
         56 oN



        54 oN



   52 oN



 50 o...
1842 to 1876
                    Below average
Above average
Photo: Stephen Wolfe
Winnipeg
Drought history - eastern Prairies
       PDSI
  4
                                                                       ...
1680-1720
Lake Mina
Lake Mina, Minnesota
      Pollen-inferred
4
      effective moisture (cm)

2



0



-2




-4
 1100                     ...
1997 Red River flood




Photo: Greg Brooks
no response




                             flood signatures
1 - 2 metres
Flood damaged   Normal growth




                                                  68
Photo: Suzana Radivojevic
350 years of Red River floods




St. George and Nielsen, The Holocene, 2003
Winnipeg
        population: 680,000




                              River diversion


                              Mai...
Prairie tree-ring network
WORLD
DATA CENTER for
PALEOCLIMATOLOGY
“ This
 must
  be
voodoo.”
 Anonymous
water manager
davidstahle edwardcook malcolmcleveland matttherrel
davidmeko henrigrissino-mayer emmawatson brianluckman


Tree-ring data...
davidstahle edwardcook malcolmcleveland matttherrel
davidmeko henrigrissino-mayer emmawatson brianluckman


Tree-ring data...
100%
                   MORE CERTAIN
                                                                                     ...
seasonality
Medicine Hat, Alberta
                     25                                                                             ...
St. George et al., unpublished results
83
INSTRUMENTAL PDSI
                                      ENSO



+0.5




   0




       correlation coefficient
-0.5
HIGH spatial coherence
STRONG connections to remote forcings
GOOD hydrological proxy
LOW spatial coherence
MODEST connections to remote forcings
POOR hydrological proxy
87
e
             iv
           t
         a
      rn
   te
  l worst-case scenarios
a
FU T U R E D I RE C T ION S
Experimental snowpack reconstruction
                   Canadian Rockies




St. George, unpublished results
Winter precipitation - decadal band




0%          10%         20%        30% variance
RANDOM
   INPUT




after Klemeš, Drought prediction: a hydrological perspective, 2000
RANDOM
   INPUT



                                      STORAGE




after Klemeš, Drought prediction: a hydrological pers...
RANDOM
   INPUT



                                      STORAGE


                                                       ...
RANDOM
   INPUT



                                      STORAGE


                                                       ...
Ault, unpublished results
Variance



     lake records

                    instrumental PDSI




                    tre...
CLIMATE




    direct




             HYDROLOGY
CLIMATE




          direct       direct




PROXIES                         HYDROLOGY
CLIMATE




          direct                  direct




PROXIES                                    HYDROLOGY
            ...
HYDROLOGY
Lake Winnipeg and its watershed
Photo: Erik Nielsen
web.mac.com/scottstgeorge
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior
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Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior

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Slides supporting a presentation at the University of Stockholm's Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.

Canada is rightly considered a water-rich nation, but persistent drought is still a leading source of risk to agriculture and energy production, particularly in the dry western interior. During the 20th century, the Canadian Prairies were less affected by decadal-scale shifts in hydroclimate than other places in North America, but the relative brevity of instrumental records makes it difficult to evaluate the potential duration and geographic scope of severe drought. Tree-ring and other proxy records show that that parts of the the Canadian Prairies experienced, relatively recently, summer droughts that were more intense and more long lasting than those observed in instrumental records. These past droughts serve as alternative worst-case scenarios that water managers can use to evaluate the resilience of their systems to conditions outside their personal or institutional experience. Comparing regional tree-ring records against the broader North American network also indicates that studies investigating the patterns and mechanisms of past drought across the continent need to consider the potential effects of seasonality biases in paleoclimate proxies.

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Prairie megadroughts: drought, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior

  1. 1. PRAIRIE MEGADROUGHTS water, proxies and decadal climate variability in the western Canadian interior scott st. george geological survey of canada
  2. 2. Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
  3. 3. Renewable water resources, by country Brazil Russia Canada USA China India Columbia Peru Zaire 0 2,000 4,000 6,000 km3/y Source: Shiklomanov and Rodda, 2003
  4. 4. Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
  5. 5. Calgary
  6. 6. Photo: Haley Catton
  7. 7. Winnipeg
  8. 8. Photo: Manitoba Hydro
  9. 9. Net income, Manitoba Hydro 3 2 0 constant 2009 SEK (billions) -2 -3 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 Source: Annual reports of the Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board
  10. 10. AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Lt. Brendan Evans
  11. 11. Past dynamics ➜ Future behavior PRESENT PAST FUTURE Precipitation Drought risks Discharge Sustainable yield Lake level Flood hazards Soil moisture
  12. 12. DECADAL VARIABILITY AND PRAIRIE WATER How important is decadal-to-multidecadal variability to the 1 hydroclimate of western Canada and North America?
  13. 13. DECADAL VARIABILITY AND PRAIRIE WATER How important is decadal-to-multidecadal variability to the 1 hydroclimate of western Canada and North America? PRAIRIE DROUGHTS SINCE AD 1500 What tree rings tell us about severity, persistance and 2 dynamics of past droughts on the Prairies.
  14. 14. D E CA D AL CLIMAT E VA R I A B I L I T Y
  15. 15. PDO NEGATIVE AMO NEGATIVE PDO NEGATIVE AMO POSITIVE McCabe et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2004
  16. 16. Where is decadal variability strong? in precipitation
  17. 17. Noise Interannual Trend Multidecadal Decadal
  18. 18. Normalized variance 10 60°N 8 50°N 6 40°N 4 30°N 2 0 10 20 30 40 50 Period (years) Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
  19. 19. The PDO fingerprint on winter precipitation -0.6 correlation Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
  20. 20. Winter precipitation - decadal band 0% 10% 20% 30% variance
  21. 21. Northern California winter precipitation Decadal variance = ~30 percent
  22. 22. Northern California Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
  23. 23. Levee break, Sacramento River Photo: California Department of Water Resources
  24. 24. Northern California Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
  25. 25. D2M in the ENSO-PDO ‘null’ -0.6 correlation Ault and St. George, Journal of Climate, in submission
  26. 26. Photo: NASA’s Earth Observatory
  27. 27. CLIMATE HISTORY OF CANADA Younger Demise of Laurentide Dryas Ice Sheet 20 16 12 8 4 0 THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO Final Drainage of Lake Agassiz LAST GLACIAL MODERN MAXIMUM OBSERVATIONS
  28. 28. D R OUGHT FROM P R A IR IE T R EES
  29. 29. MEGADROUGHT intensity at least equivalent to modern multiyear droughts duration longer than the several years to decade thereof Seager et al., Journal of Climate, 2008
  30. 30. Martin-Philippe Girardin Canadian Forest Service Greg Pederson United States Geological Survey David Sauchyn Glen MacDonald Emma Watson UCLA University of Regina Environment Canada Erik Nielsen Jacques Tardif Manitoba Geological Survey University of Winnipeg
  31. 31. Photo: Emma Watson
  32. 32. Photo: Greg Brooks
  33. 33. 2008
  34. 34. 1875
  35. 35. Photo: Erik Nielsen
  36. 36. Photo: Erik Nielsen
  37. 37. 49 Photo: Erik Nielsen
  38. 38. Prairie tree-ring network
  39. 39. Palmer Drought Severity Index
  40. 40. 52
  41. 41. Calgary
  42. 42. southern Alberta 10 3 2 5 1 Ringwidth PDSI 0 0 -1 -5 -2 -3 -10 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 Year (A.D.) St. George et al., Journal of Climate, 2009
  43. 43. southern Alberta 10 3 2 5 1 Ringwidth PDSI 0 0 -1 -5 r = 0.62 -2 -3 -10 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 Year (A.D.) St. George et al., Journal of Climate, 2009
  44. 44. Drought history - western Prairies PDSI 6 4 observations 2 0 -2 tree rings -4 -6 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 Year (AD) St. George et al., Journal of Climate, 2009
  45. 45. MEGADROUGHT intensity at least equivalent to modern multiyear droughts duration longer than the several years to decade thereof Seager et al., Journal of Climate, 2008
  46. 46. 58 oN 1718 - 1722 56 oN 54 oN 52 oN 50 oN 48 oN oW 90 114 oW oW 96 o o 108 W 102 W Ringwidth anomaly (deviations) −2 −1 0 1 2 -2 0 +2
  47. 47. 1842 to 1876 Below average Above average
  48. 48. Photo: Stephen Wolfe
  49. 49. Winnipeg
  50. 50. Drought history - eastern Prairies PDSI 4 observations 2 0 -2 tree rings -4 1500 1600 1700 1800 1900 2000 Year (AD) St. George et al., Journal of Climate, 2009
  51. 51. 1680-1720
  52. 52. Lake Mina
  53. 53. Lake Mina, Minnesota Pollen-inferred 4 effective moisture (cm) 2 0 -2 -4 1100 1300 1500 1700 1900 Year (AD) St. Jacques et al., Quaternary Science Reviews, 2008
  54. 54. 1997 Red River flood Photo: Greg Brooks
  55. 55. no response flood signatures 1 - 2 metres
  56. 56. Flood damaged Normal growth 68 Photo: Suzana Radivojevic
  57. 57. 350 years of Red River floods St. George and Nielsen, The Holocene, 2003
  58. 58. Winnipeg population: 680,000 River diversion Main channel Photo: Greg Brooks
  59. 59. Prairie tree-ring network
  60. 60. WORLD DATA CENTER for PALEOCLIMATOLOGY
  61. 61. “ This must be voodoo.” Anonymous water manager
  62. 62. davidstahle edwardcook malcolmcleveland matttherrel davidmeko henrigrissino-mayer emmawatson brianluckman Tree-ring data document 16th century megadrought over North America EOS 81, p121, 2000
  63. 63. davidstahle edwardcook malcolmcleveland matttherrel davidmeko henrigrissino-mayer emmawatson brianluckman Tree-ring data document 16th century megadrought over North America but not Canada EOS 81, p121, 2000
  64. 64. 100% MORE CERTAIN Woodhouse et al., 2006 Meko et al., 2001 80% Upper Colorado River Sacramento River Meko et al., 2007 Colorado River Woodhouse, 2007 Middle Boulder Creek 60% Case and MacDonald, 2003 explained Saskatchewan River Beriault and Sauchyn, 2006 Churchill River Bonin and Burn, 2005 variance Athabasca River 40% Gedalof et al., 2007 Watson and Luckman, 2005 Columbia River Bow River 20% LESS CERTAIN 0% Canada USA
  65. 65. seasonality
  66. 66. Medicine Hat, Alberta 25 80 20 15 60 Precipitation mm) Temperature (°C) 10 5 40 0 -5 20 -10 0 -15 Jan Mar May Jul Sep Nov Source: Environment Canada, Adjusted Historical Canadian Climate Data, 1895 – 2006
  67. 67. St. George et al., unpublished results
  68. 68. 83
  69. 69. INSTRUMENTAL PDSI ENSO +0.5 0 correlation coefficient -0.5
  70. 70. HIGH spatial coherence STRONG connections to remote forcings GOOD hydrological proxy
  71. 71. LOW spatial coherence MODEST connections to remote forcings POOR hydrological proxy
  72. 72. 87
  73. 73. e iv t a rn te l worst-case scenarios a
  74. 74. FU T U R E D I RE C T ION S
  75. 75. Experimental snowpack reconstruction Canadian Rockies St. George, unpublished results
  76. 76. Winter precipitation - decadal band 0% 10% 20% 30% variance
  77. 77. RANDOM INPUT after Klemeš, Drought prediction: a hydrological perspective, 2000
  78. 78. RANDOM INPUT STORAGE after Klemeš, Drought prediction: a hydrological perspective, 2000
  79. 79. RANDOM INPUT STORAGE ‘REDDENED’ OUTPUT after Klemeš, Drought prediction: a hydrological perspective, 2000
  80. 80. RANDOM INPUT STORAGE ‘REDDENED’ OUTPUT POTENTIAL CLIMATE FORCINGS? after Klemeš, Drought prediction: a hydrological perspective, 2000
  81. 81. Ault, unpublished results Variance lake records instrumental PDSI tree-ring PDSI precipitation Frequency (yrs)
  82. 82. CLIMATE direct HYDROLOGY
  83. 83. CLIMATE direct direct PROXIES HYDROLOGY
  84. 84. CLIMATE direct direct PROXIES HYDROLOGY indirect
  85. 85. HYDROLOGY
  86. 86. Lake Winnipeg and its watershed
  87. 87. Photo: Erik Nielsen
  88. 88. web.mac.com/scottstgeorge

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