UNBC professor appointed climate change and water security research chair

Nearly $1.5 million in research funding for this project has come from NSERC and Rio Tinto

University of Northern British Columbia. (File photo)

University of Northern British Columbia. (File photo)

Over $1.5 million in research funding to a UNBC professor will help better understand the impacts of climate change and human activity on the long-term security of the Nechako watershed.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada has named UNBC environmental science professor Dr. Stephen Déry as the first NSERC and Rio Tinto senior industrial research chair in climate change and water security.

An industrial research chair facilitates research collaborations between universities and partners in the private or public sectors, which results in economic, social and/or environmental benefits, stated a Nov. 4 media release.

The $1.5 million in research funding from NSERC and Rio Tinto will allow Déry, an expert on climate variability and climate change, to quantify their roles and the role of water management on the Nechako River basin’s water supply.

“This five-year program of research builds on the capacity my research group has developed over the past 15 years and will make use of the latest technology and state-of-the-art numerical models in advancing our knowledge on the impacts of climate change on water security in the Nechako watershed,” says Déry.

He added that it is important to collaborate with private sector companies such as Rio Tinto, so that their research findings are applied to help manage environmental impacts of industrial activity.

READ MORE: SD91 and UNBC held a workshop where students discussed community stressors

“This partnership will build on Rio Tinto’s long standing support for the UNBC and commitment to managing the Nechako watershed responsibly,” said Rio Tinto BC Works general manager Affonso Bizon.

“We share UNBC’s commitment to advancing education and research in the region, and look forward to seeing the findings from this work to build on our environmental management program for the Nechako,” he said.

This funding from NSERC and Rio Tinto will additionally support 13 students, ranging from doctoral candidates and post-doctoral fellows, to masters students and senior undergraduate researchers, stated the media release.

“Dr. Stephen Déry’s research into the consequences of climate change on the water cycle in the north is of up most importance to Canadians and is an ideal fit for UNBC’s first Industrial Research Chair,” says UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks.

Weeks added that the collaboration between NSERC, Rio Tinto and UNBC will create knowledge around the future of the Nechako River and will contribute to the ongoing global conversation around climate.

The three main themes for research are — hydro-meteorological monitoring and data collection; atmospheric and terrestrial rivers; and hydrological and water temperature modeling.

Some specific projects include expanding the number of hydro-meteorological research stations in the Nechako River basin, monitoring the terrestrial impact of atmospheric rivers (a long band of moisture plumes that often result in heavy precipitation events, colloquially known as Pineapple Express storms), and projecting the future hydrology and water temperatures of the Nechako watershed, as stated in the media release.

This project is supported by the Research Support Fund, a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; Canadian Institutes of Health Research; and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, which assists Canadian post-secondary institutions and their affiliated research hospitals and institutes with the expenses associated with managing the research funded by these three federal research granting agencies.


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in South Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Jason Noble and his longtime partner Marilyn Martin (Photo submitted)
ROTARY MONTH: Camaraderie, helping others fuels Rotary Club of Williams Lake Daybreak

For the past year-and-a-half Martin has served as the club’s secretary; Noble as president

Rotary Club of Williams Lake members, including president Mike Austin (second from left), cook up breakfasts during a Stampede breakfast this past summer. (Photo submitted)
ROTARY MONTH: Rotary Club of Williams Lake looking to get back to business

While COVID-19 made most of 2020 and the start of the new… Continue reading

Tribune columnist Jim Hilton captured this photo of the forest floor during a hike in the Helmken Falls area at Wells Gray Provinicial Park. (Jim Hilton photo)
FOREST INK: Forests and its connection to human health, part one

Urbanization and modern lifestyle have diminished possibilities for human contact with nature

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Most Read