Today’s Poll

What glaciers in the Columbia Basin tell us about snowpack

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
March 15th, 2011

How does snowpack respond to climate change—right here in the Columbia Basin?

How do glaciers fit in? And what about the future of powder?

In the coming weeks, you can learn some snowpack science and watch a short film during SOS: Save Our Snowpack, an evening that brings you a double shot of awareness — stopping in Nelson this Sunday, March 20 at TNT Playhouse, 7pm (hosted by West Kootenay Eco Society).

First off, Jocelyn Hirose will present Save Our Snowpack: What Glaciers in the Columbia Basin Can Tell Us About Snowpack. Hirose, a M.Sc. candidate at the University of Calgary, will share her findings about snowpack and glaciers in the Columbia Basin.

Mel Reasoner, who has worked with the Atmospheric Conditions, Mountain Systems Chapter of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and CBT, will also share the latest knowledge about effects of climate change on Nelson’s local weather patterns and what we can expect in the future.  

Reasoner’s presentation will be followed by the film Generations: A skiers’ and snowboarders’ perspective on climate change. This film, by Teton Gravity Research, was a winner at the 2009 Backcountry Ski Film Festival. It explores climate change through the eyes of people who love snow with a passion bordering on obsessive: skiers and boarders.

“Save Our Snowpack and Generations will make for an interesting evening,” said Heather Leschied, with Wildsight. “Glaciers and snow are a huge part of our regional landscape.”

In Revelstoke, the evening will be a little different. Rather than showing the film Generations, Hirose’s presentation will be preceded by a photo presentation by FB Productions, illustrating water in all its forms in the north Columbia.

Leschied said the tour is a way to celebrate Canada Water Week. It’s being hosted by Wildsight, the North Columbia Environmental Society, the West Kootenay Eco Society, the Elk River Alliance and Joseph Creek Streamkeepers.

“Jocelyn Hirose monitors the Illecillewaet Glacier in Glacier National Park, British Columbia,” Leschied said. “Her work advances current understanding of the glaciated regions of the Columbia Basin: their sensitivity to climate and the impact climate change has on stream flow.”

For her part, Hirose feels it’s imperative to share her knowledge with basin residents. “I want to improve people’s understanding and involvement in the cryosphere,” she said. (For newbies, ‘cryosphere’ is the term that describes portions of the Earth’s surface where water is in solid form—glaciers, ice, snow and permafrost)

Many people who live in the basin are in active contact with the cryosphere all winter long—skiing, snowboarding and ice climbing. “Both the presentation and the film can help answer some questions people may have about glaciers, snowpack, climate change—and how it relates to them,” Leschied said.

The tour stops in seven communities.

• Golden: Thursday, March 17 – High School Drama Room, 7pm – hosted by Wildsight Golden.

• Revelstoke: Friday, March 18 – Revelstoke Community Centre, 7pm – hosted by the North Columbia Environmental Society. (Note – The presentation will not be followed by the film Generations, but rather will be preceded by a photo presentation by FB Productions.)

• Nelson: Sunday, March 20 – TNT Playhouse, 7pm – hosted by West Kootenay Eco Society.

• Kimberley: Monday, March 21 – Centre 64, 7:30pm – hosted by Wildsight. 
(Note – The event will be preceded by Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook AGM from 6:30-7:30 at Centre 64. Everyone is welcome to attend.)

• Fernie: Tuesday, March 22 – Fernie Arts Station, 7pm – hosted by the Elk River Alliance & Wildsight Elk Valley.

• Cranbrook: Wednesday, March 23 – College of the Rockies – hosted by Joseph Creek Streamkeepers and Wildsight.

Invermere: Thursday, March 24 – Panorama Mountain Village, 7:30pm – hosted by Wildsight Invermere.

Hirose will cover the fundamentals of glaciers and how they relate to climate; what we know—and don’t know—about glaciers in the Columbia Basin; how glaciers and snowpack respond to climate change; the regional temperature and precipitation trends; and what individuals can do.

Generations is a short film that explores the consequences of climate change upon winter environments and snow culture. It discusses climate change through the perspectives of those for whom snowy winters have a deeper personal significance.

“SOS will be a great evening—entertaining and informative,” Leschied said. “We hope you attend and enjoy what we’re offering to celebrate Canada Water Week.”

About Canada Water Week •

Canada Water Week aims to raise the profile and understanding of water across Canada through a week-long celebration of this precious resource, starting March 14 and culminating with World Water Day on March 22.

National Canada Water Week activities are being organized jointly by the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, WWF-Canada and Living Lakes Network Canada. By raising awareness about water and its importance to our nation’s prosperity, we aim to stimulate individual, community and government action on clean water.

About Living Lakes Network Canada 
Living Lakes Network Canada facilitates collaboration in education, monitoring, rehabilitation and policy development initiatives for the long-term protection of Canada’s lakes, wetlands and watersheds. 

The network’s emphasis is on linking academia to action, fostering citizen based water stewardship and promoting watershed protection of Canada’s water.

About Wildsight •

Wildsight works locally, regionally and globally to protect biodiversity and encourage sustainable communities in Canada’s Columbia and southern Rocky Mountain region. 

This area is internationally recognized as a keystone to conservation in western North America.

Categories: Issues


Other News Stories