Providing Regional Climate Services to British Columbia

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Atmospheric Rivers State of Knowledge Report Released

As the climate continues to warm, we expect that extreme weather events will continue to intensify. Therefore understanding these events and improving our ability to forecast them becomes increasingly important. In the Pacific and Yukon Region of Canada, the extreme precipitation phenomenon known as an "atmospheric river" is one such event that has drawn the attention of climatologists, forecasters, emergency responders and policy advisors. 

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow streams of moist, tropical air that can bring with them extremely heavy rainfall. Because of the impacts that can accompany these events, PCIC in partnership with the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and the BC Ministry of Environment are working on a project funded by Natural Resources Canada to improve our understanding with the goal of enhancing BC’s risk response. 

The first stage of this project was the BC Atmospheric River Events: State of the Knowledge Workshop, held in March. The workshop discussion and outcomes are summarized in the recently released Atmospheric Rivers State of Knowledge Report. The report, available here presents our current understanding of Atmospheric River events in four themes:

  1. Our current understanding
  2. Enhancing our understanding
  3. Enhancing our response
  4. Stakeholder mapping

The report reflects the lively and fruitful multidisciplinary dialogue and suggestions for future direction that took place at the workshop. As the project partners move on to phase 2 of the work, our goal is to compliment this report with a more detailed risk assessment for BC.