Precipitation trends on the Canadian prairie
The amount and timing of precipitation on the Canadian Prairie is critical to grain production. Information on the precipitation trend is therefore vital to this region. Regression analysis was used to establish linear trends of precipitation amounts and number of precipitation events at 37 stations with 75 years of record (prior to and including 1995) across the Canadian Prairie. There has been a significant increase in the number of precipitation events mainly due to an increase in the number of low-intensity events. As such precipitation events are not getting more intense. From 1921 to 1995 on the Canadian Prairie, the number of precipitation events (excluding events that are 0.5 mm or less) has increased by 16 events, and precipitation and rainfall amounts have increased by 0.62 mm and 0.60 mm per annum, respectively. During the period from 1921 to 1960 the trends in precipitation, rainfall and snowfall were not statistically different from zero. However, from 1961 to 1995, snowfall has declined by 0.95 mm per year. The trends in the most recent period (1961 to 1995) were also significantly different from those in the 1921 to 1960 period for snowfall. The difference in trends between the two periods for snowfall, combined with the inverse relationship in the rainfall-snowfall trends suggest that these trends may be related to climate change.
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