Expedition Arguk Explores the North

Jason Mercer, an MSc student with CH Prof. Cherie Westbrook, is participating in Expedition Arguk, which will see a small team of five scientists and media experts hike and packraft 300 miles, from the Gates of the Arctic to the Arctic Ocean. There are no trails and no roads, only a few towns scattered through a vast wilderness area eight times the size of Switzerland.
Despite the remoteness of the region, however, profound changes are underway. Petroleum exploration and drilling, and the effects of climate change itself, are having a profound impact on the landscape. The expedition’s goal is to implement the most creative and effective ways to spread awareness and understanding of this rapidly-changing corner of the world.
More information is available from the expedition’s website – expeditionarguk.com.

New Glacier Observation Station – The Movie

CH Research Technician Angus Duncan shot a series of time-lapse sequences over two days in July 2013, during the construction of a new hydrometeorological and snow observing station which forms part of the Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory, just off the toe of the Peyto Glacier in Banff National Park.
The station will measure air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, solid and liquid precipitation, snow depth, soil temperature, soil moisture, snow temperature at 20cm and 150cm depth, and incoming and outgoing longwave and shortwave radiation. Before the onset of winter the solar panel and rain gauge will be moved higher, so that they’re above the snow surface, and a dielectric device will be installed to measure snow density and wetness. A time-lapse camera is also directed at the glacier taking 2 photos per day.
The video is available on Vimeo.

Climate change impacts on Yukon hydrology studied by Centre for Hydrology

The Centre for Hydrology, along with Yukon Environment and McMaster University, is studying the impact of a changing climate on the hydrology of the Yukon Territory. The study is using the Wolf Creek Research Basin as a modelling laboratory to improve and validate the Cold Regions Hydrological Model for multi-year simulation of changing snow and permafrost conditions in the north, and exploring how these impact the quantity and timing of streamflow. CH Research Officer Tyler Williams is based in Whitehorse, Yukon to assist with this study and was featured in a recent edition of the Yukon News: the article is available here. Modelling for the project is being conducted by Kabir Rasouli, who is based at the CH Coldwater Laboratory in Kananaskis.

CH to host R Course

There was excellent demand from across the country for the R Course at the CGU/CWRA meeting, but many from the U. of S. were unable to make it – so the Centre for Hydrology is giving an informal Introduction to R for Hydrologists class in late August for U. of S. faculty, staff and students who would like to start using this highly productive toolset in their hydrological calculations.
By Whom? Dr Kevin Shook, a research scientist with the Centre, who gave part of the R class to CGU
For Whom? Open only to U. of S. faculty, staff and students
How many? The first 80 people through the door will get a place!
When? Begins 9am, Thursday August 29th: continues all day
Where? Room 144 of Kirk Hall
In the spirit of open source software, the course will be
i) Free – no registration required
ii) Unofficial
iii) Open to any member of U. of S. faculty, staff or student body
The course will cover the following topics:
1. Getting started
– what R is and how it works
– getting and installing R
– getting help
– using the command line
– using the GUI
2. Using R
– data types
– commands
– importing/exporting data
– doing calculations
3. Graphs
– simple graphs
– special purpose graphs
– exporting graphs
– advanced graphing with ggplot2
4. Commonly used commands
– common statistical functions
– dealing with bad/missing data
– subsetting data
– aggregating data
5. Advanced
– linear models (regressions)
– writing R functions
– debugging
– accessing WISKI data from R
No background in R or programming is required. The course will be taught with demonstrations, so you are strongly encouraged to bring your laptop and work along. There is no credit or examination associated with this informal course – you will get out of it what you put into it.
You can download R from cran.stat.sfu.ca, and should load it and try it out before the course. R is most easily used with a GUI: probably the easiest and best is RStudio.