The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) Terrace campus will soon be home to new equipment to monitor extreme weather and build better predictive models for such events.
The weather sensing technology is being funded through a nearly $100,000 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund, and will help scientists learn more about storms.
In addition to the Terrace campus, another weather station will be installed at the Huckleberry Mine in the Upper Skeena Watershed.
Professor Stephen Déry heads the Monitoring Extreme Climate and Hydrometeorological Events project through UNBC and will be using the data from the stations in his research.
“With this new equipment, we will be able to obtain detailed measurements on precipitation and meteorological conditions during atmospheric rivers and other storms,” he said in a UNBC media release.
“We will be able to profile the atmosphere to characterize the ambient conditions that lead to precipitation formation and how it is distributed at the surface.”
The station will be equipped to measure air temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure and precipitation, among others. It will also feature a portable weather balloon, allowing Déry to take measurements from the surface to the lower stratosphere.
“These two sites provide counterpoints to track different extremes associated with the same storms,” Déry said.
“For instance, we will be able to distinguish if meteorological conditions and precipitation associated with atmospheric rivers have specific characteristics relative to other storms.”
According to UNBC, Terrace was selected as one of the two locations because it is in the path of the prevailing westerlies from the Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric rivers can bring large amounts of precipitation in a short timeframe, and the area is one of the most susceptible in western Canada for freezing rain and near zero degrees conditions.