MESH - A Community Hydrology - Land Surface Model

Monthly Large-scale Modelling Meeting

July 13, 2016

In attendance at NHRC or by webex:

Al Pietroniro, Arcadio Rodriguez, James Bomhof, Chris Marsh, Dan Princz, Chris DeBeer, Yonas Dibike, Erika Klyszejko, Frank Seglenieks, Fuad Yassin, Amin Haghnegahdar, Hammad Javid, Andrew Ireson, Kurt Kornelsen, Murray Mackay, Kamrul Hossain, Moges Mamo, Luis Morales Marin, Rajesh Shrestha, Chris Spence, Vincent Fortin, Howard Wheater, Wei Yu, Pierre Pellerin, Bruce Davison


It has been many months since a call has been organized to discuss progress in the collaborative large-scale modelling efforts between Environment and Climate Change Canada and the University of Saskatchewan. This meeting ends the drought of such meetings by announcing a presentation by Vincent Fortin highlighting the flow forecasting systems being developed at CMC.

Vincent will begin with their most advanced system on the Great Lakes and lead to their progress with various modelling activities elsewhere in Canada. The discussion will also highlight how we have successfully collaborated up to the present and how we can further improve our collaborations on the large-scale modelling work.

Future meetings will focus on individual large-scale modelling projects being undertaken by various members of the large-scale modelling community in Canada. More specific details regarding the July 13th meeting will be forthcoming closer to the time.

The people who are invited to these meetings include representatives from Environment and Climate Change Canada, the University of Saskatchewan, and a few other individuals who have an interest in large-scale modelling activities in Canada.


Bruce Davison welcomed everyone to the meeting and said a few words to set the stage for Vincent Fortin’s presentation. Bruce highlighted the commonality between the work being done at the Canadian Meteorological Centre (CMC) in Montreal with Vincent’s team and the work being done through the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) at the University of Saskatchewan. Although the modelling systems being developed and used at CMC and the GIWS have different strengths, they also have a lot in common and are complimentary modelling platforms. Bruce then introduced Vincent.


Vincent gave his presentation on hydrological forecasting activities at CMC, focusing on the tools of the Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA), the Extreme Surface Runoff Outlook, and the Water Cycle Prediction System for the Great Lakes using the GEM-Hydro modelling platform. Vincent also highlighted the complimentary nature of GEM-Hydro and MESH as well as ongoing research initiatives taking place at CMC.


Vincent’s presentation can be found here:20160713-hydrology-at-cmc.pptx


At the end of the presentation, Howard Wheater thanked Vincent for his presentation and there was a discussion regarding potential linkages between the GIWS and CMC. In addition to the points made by Vincent on the last slide of his presentation, Howard highlighted three areas where he saw some potential for linkages between the GIWS and CMC. The first being the work of Nic Wayand to improve the representation of snow in land surface schemes, the second being the work of the GIWS to incorporate human influences in land surface schemes, and the third being through the potential funding that the University of Saskatchewan has been short-listed to receive from a federal initiative called the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Howard also asked Vincent if he knew what ECCC’s view was on the development of pan-Canadian flow forecasting tools. Vincent said that he couldn’t speak for all of ECCC, but he felt that there were a  number of reasons that ECCC could develop such a system:

  1. ECCC wants to develop better numerical environmental prediction products for provincial, territorial and federal government agencies,
  2. predicting the flow to oceans is critical for ocean modelling activities, and
  3. the expertise and computer resources required to run computationally expensive applications exists at ECCC in Montreal.

Yonas Dibike asked Vincent if climate predictions were possible with the GEM-Hydro system. Vincent indicated that this was possible.

Kurt Kornelsen asked how the GRU/tiling approach worked within GEM-Hydro. Vincent provided an explanation and indicated that it was not as flexible as within MESH, but certainly possible.

Amin Haghnegahdar asked if there was collaboration with UQAM on climate modelling. Vincent indicated that there is collaboration, and part of the reason that CMC does not focus on climate modelling is because the work using similar tools is done elsewhere. The resulting discussion revolved around the idea that there is room for improved climate modelling for hydrology.

At this point in the meeting, the line went static and the meeting was concluded.

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