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Significant hydrological events of 2022 in Yukon – the age of extremes

 

Each time a new climate record is broken, climate researchers are left wondering “was this because of our uncontrolled emission of greenhouse gasses?”  We rarely know for sure.  While a single extreme may be consistent with what was anticipated, specific “attribution” studies are required to determine the contribution of anthropogenic forcing to a given extreme event. 

Without digging deeper on identifying the exact role of human activity, this blog focuses on documenting several events in the 2022 hydrological year that caught the attention of...

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Pac-Man and Bluefish breakup events in 2022

The timing and intensity of river ice breakup depends on multiple factors driven by hydrological and meteorological conditions. Breakup may start gradually but can end with a significant ice jam flood. In turn, there are years where most ingredients are gathered for high water levels at breakup, yet Nature decides otherwise, and water levels remain low. The science (or the art) of breakup forecasting is far from infallible, but several tools and indicators exist to inform public services and the population about the annual risk of ice jam floods.

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2022 Yukon flood perspective aligns with climate projections

For years now, we have been witnessing the occurrence of weather extremes. In 2021, unprecedented hot weather, droughts, and floods affected different regions of Canada, including Yukon. A couple of years before, in the spring of 2019, a very thin snowpack was reported in central and southern Yukon. This spring, several areas of Yukon have set new precipitation records (since monitoring started between the 1960s to the 1990s) and the snowpack in a majority of Yukon watersheds is concerning (refer to the...

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