Dr. Stephen Déry is researching the impact of climate change on the Cariboo Mountains east of Williams Lake.

Dr. Stephen Déry is researching the impact of climate change on the Cariboo Mountains east of Williams Lake.

Cariboo Mountains climate researcher to speak at Scout Island Nature Centre

In the middle of winter, we may think that global warming is not such a bad thing … as long as the snow is good for skiing.

In the middle of winter, we may think that global warming is not such a bad thing … as long as the snow is good for skiing.

But to scientific researcher Dr. Stephen Déry, snow and ice are not just fun and picturesque, they’re vital to our survival.

Standing on top of Spanish Mountain in the Cariboo Mountains, Déry has a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.

Far below is Quesnel Lake, the deepest glacier-created lake in Canada.

The scene is straight out of a tourism brochure, but it is an area at risk.

“We’ve all seen and heard about the effects of climate change in the Arctic but areas of high altitude are equally susceptible to the global warming trend,” says  Déry in the discussion notice for his upcoming talk at the Scout Island Nature Centre on March 13.

Nature Centre program co-ordinator Jenny Noble says the society is excited to be hosting Déry who will talk about his research and implications for the region’s watershed.

Déry holds a PhD in atmospheric sciences from McGill University and came to the University of Northern B.C. from Princeton University as a Canada research chair.

As assistant professor, environmental science and engineering and Canada research chair — Northern Hydrometeorology, Déry has been studying the effects of climate change in the Cariboo Mountains above Quesnel Lake, and believes that the mountainous regions of western North America  will experience rates of climate change much higher than the global average.

“Many scientists predict that the mountainous regions of western North America — otherwise known as the Western Cordillera — will experience rates of climate change much higher than the global average,” Déry says.

“This has huge implications for the water cycle and whether water will continue to be stored as snow and ice. This is the perfect place to study how climate variability at high altitudes will affect access to our most precious natural resource: fresh water.”

Déry will be the special guest speaker at the Scout Island Nature Centre on March 13 starting at 7 p.m. The presentation is free and open to everyone.