Canada: Water deficits persist in northern MB, ON, central QB (August 24, 2016)

The Big Picture
The outlook for Canada through April 2017 (below) indicates pockets of exceptional water deficits (greater than 40 years) in central Alberta, northern Manitoba, eastern Ontario, and central Quebec. Moderate deficits (5 to 10 years) are forecast across the Prairie Provinces. Surpluses are forecast for southeastern British Columbia.

Just months after a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada forced the evacuation of 90,000 people, July flooding had residents navigating streets in canoes and Jet-Skis. The region received about 88 millimeters (3.35 inches) of rain in just two hours.

Drought is affecting farms across Ontario despite recent rain. Farmers in eastern Ontario are "facing a point of no return," said the president of the Ontario Farmers' Association. Losses are expected to be especially great in corn and soybeans, though wheat may see a record year. According to a senior scientist at Environment Canada, August 10 marked the driest 100 days on record in Toronto.

Burn bans are in effect throughout New Brunswick, most of south-west Nova Scotia, and Halifax Regional Municipality due to dry conditions. 

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail. The August through October map shows a predominance of water deficits in the forecast. In general, areas of exceptional deficits are expected to shrink in the next three months, though large pockets will persist in northern Manitoba and central Quebec. Central Ontario transitions from white to yellow and orange – an indication that abnormal (3 to 5 years) to moderate deficits are forecast to emerge throughout much of the Province. Surpluses are forecast to persist in northwest Saskatchewan and across the border into Alberta.

Overall, by November deficit conditions throughout the country are forecast to ameliorate. However, from November through January large areas of moderate or worse deficits will remain in northern British Columbia, central Alberta, along the Saskatchewan River, throughout Manitoba, much of Ontario north of Lake Superior, and central Quebec. Surpluses will continue to emerge in southern British Columbia.

From February through April the extent of emerging surpluses will continue to grow in southern British Columbia.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)


Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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