Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 46–60 | Cite as

The Changing Cold Regions Network: Observation, diagnosis and prediction of environmental change in the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie River Basins, Canada

  • Chris M. Debeer
  • Howard S. Wheater
  • William L. Quinton
  • Sean K. Carey
  • Ronald E. Stewart
  • Murray D. MacKay
  • Philip Marsh
Research Paper Special Topic: Watershed Science

Abstract

Climate change is causing rapid and severe changes to many Earth systems and processes, with widespread cryospheric, ecological, and hydrological impacts globally, and especially in high northern latitudes. This is of major societal concern and there is an urgent need for improved understanding and predictive tools for environmental management. The Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN) is a Canadian research consortium with a focus to integrate existing and new experimental data with modelling and remote sensing products to understand, diagnose, and predict changing land, water, and climate, and their interactions and feedbacks over the geographic domain of the Mackenzie and Saskatchewan River Basins in Canada. The network operates a set of 14 unique and focused Water, Ecosystem, Cryosphere and Climate (WECC) observatories within this region, which provide opportunities to observe and understand processes and their interaction, as well as develop and test numerical simulation models, and provide validation data for remote sensing products. This paper describes this network and its observational, experimental, and modelling programme. An overview of many of the recent Earth system changes observed across the study region is provided, and some local insights from WECC observatories that may partly explain regional patterns and trends are described. Several of the model products being developed are discussed, and linkages with the local to international user community are reviewed—In particular, the use of WECC data towards model and remote sensing product calibration and validation is highlighted. Some future activities and prospects for the network are also presented at the end of the paper.

Keywords

climate change cryosphere hydrology atmospheric science ecology modelling Canada 

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris M. Debeer
    • 1
  • Howard S. Wheater
    • 1
  • William L. Quinton
    • 2
  • Sean K. Carey
    • 3
  • Ronald E. Stewart
    • 4
  • Murray D. MacKay
    • 5
  • Philip Marsh
    • 2
  1. 1.Global Institute for Water SecurityUniversity of Saskatchewan, National Hydrology Research CentreSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Cold Regions Research CentreWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.School of Geography and Earth SciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Environment and GeographyUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  5. 5.Science and Technology BranchEnvironment CanadaTorontoCanada

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