Science & Outreach Themes

The programme and its objectives are organized around five inter-related and inter-dependent Themes that address Earth system change and its numerical description and prediction at local, large river basin and regional climate system scales, as described below.  The last Theme is focused on user community engagement, and it integrates and delivers the knowledge and products from all other Themes. 


Theme A

Observed Earth System Change in Cold Regions - Inventory and Statistical Evaluation documents and evaluates observed change, including hydrological, ecological, cryospheric, and atmospheric components, in the cold regions of interior northwestern Canada over a range of scales.

Theme B

Improved Understanding and Diagnosis of Local-Scale Change improves our knowledge of local-scale change by developing new and integrative knowledge of Earth system processes, incorporating these processes into a suite of process-based integrative models, and using the models to better understand Earth system change.

Theme C

Upscaling for Improved Atmospheric Modelling and River Basin-Scale Prediction improves large-scale atmospheric and hydrological models for weather, climate, and river basin-scale modelling and prediction of the changing Earth system and its feedbacks.

Theme D

Analysis and Prediction of Regional and Large-Scale Variability and Change focusses on the driving factors for the observed trends and variability in large-scale aspects of the Earth system, their representation in current models, and the projections of regional-scale effects of Earth system change on climate, ecology, land, and water resources.

Theme E

Network Outreach and Engagement engages a community of partners and users, including the public, local stakeholder groups, provincial and federal policy/decision makers, national and international research organizations, and other relevant groups, and disseminates the improved knowledge and tools within this extended community
Each of the Themes has a set of individual objective work plans and milestones, yet these are tightly integrated and inter-dependent.  Theme A establishes a baseline inventory, statistical evaluation and synthesis of changes over a range of spatial scales.  This is taken further in subsequent Themes, particularly B and D, where observations and conceptual models of change are further analyzed and diagnosed quantitatively. Theme C builds on the insights from the WECC Observations and fine-scale modelling (Themes A and B) to develop and test improved models for large scale application, while the application of these models, to address impacts of change on river flows and land-atmosphere feedbacks, is in Theme D.  Theme E is integrated across all Themes to ensure that results are communicated in a relevant and useful manner, and that there is two-way engagement between the Network and its partners. The activities of all researchers in the Network cross multiple Themes and reinforce the linkages among them.