Community Assessment & Adaptation Options:
La Ronge is located in north-central Saskatchewan on the shore of Lac La Ronge where the Precambrian Shield meets the Great Plain to the south and between the Churchill River Upland and Mid Boreal Upland Ecoregions. La Ronge is Saskatchewan's largest northern community and serves as a major retail, distribution, government and service centre for the north. Its economy is resource based serving the mining (gold, uranium and diamonds), forest and tourism industries and many Aboriginal communities where hunting, fishing and trapping are still widely practiced.
The Churchill River Upland is gently undulating with vegetation dominated by black spruce and jack pine along with white spruce and peatlands. Wildlife diversity is high and includes moose, black bear, woodland caribou, bald eagles, lake trout, lake sturgeon, whitefish, pike and walleye. The Mid-Boreal Upland Ecogregion to the south is a rolling upland with numerous large lakes including Dore, Montreal, and La Plonge. Forest cover is more mixed with trembling aspen, jack pine, black spruce and white spruce and balsam poplar and white birch. Wildlife diversity increases southward to also include white-tailed deer, mule deer and elk. Forestry and tourism have contributed to the regional economy.
Climate Normals (1971-2000)
- The average daily temperature ranges from -20.4°C in January to 17.2°C in July with 5 months being below 0 (November to March). The lowest average daily minimum temperature is -25.8°C experienced in January and the highest average daily maximum temperature of 23°C is experienced in August.
- The annual precipitation is about 483.8 mm of which 72% is rainfall and the remainder is snow. 47% falls in the months of April, May, June, July.
- The average monthly wind speed is low, being between 9.9 km/hr (Jan.) to about 12 km/hr (April, May June, September and October).
- An indication of the demand for cooling and heating is provided by the number of degree days above 18°C - 61.8; and the number of degree days below 18°C - 6671.
Over the next century to 2100 climate scenarios suggest:
- A warmer climate - temperatures may generally rise 2 to 4 degrees.
- A longer growing season - but drier, despite an increase in precipitation to about 520 to 550 mm. This is a result of increased summer temperatures and increased evapotranspiration.
- The demand for summer cooling could increase almost 3.5 times.
- A shorter, milder winter. Heating requirements may be reduced by 10% to 21%.
- Expect more frequent and more intense extreme events (e.g. heavy precipitation or drought). Droughts will likely increase in intensity and frequency. Forest fires may increase in number and intensity.
- On sites where moisture is not a limiting factor, forest growth may increase because of the longer, warmer growing season.
- Low-water years may become more frequent.
Regional Adaptation Options
- Development and reclamation associated with mining and logging will have to adjust their operating seasons as the off-road snow and ice winter travel season may become shorter.
- Investigate a wide range of adaptation measures to reduce fuel loads and the risk of fire to communities.
- Monitor shoulder season weather patterns in order to know how to adapt resource use (hunting, fishing and trapping and other outdoor activities) in the future.
- Lengthen parks and campground season in which facilities and services are available.Fly-in fish camps may also benefit.
- Acton, D.F., Padbury,G.A., Stushnoff,C.T., (1998): The Ecoregions of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina and Saskatchewan, Environment and Resource Management.
- Barrow, E. (2009b): Climate Scenarios for Saskatchewan. PARC Summary Document No. 09-01, 15p.
- Barrow, E. (2009a): Climate Scenarios for Saskatchewan. PARC, 131 p.
- Canadian Plains Research Centre. 2005. Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan
- Environment Canada (2010): National Climate Data and Information Archive, Canadian Climate Normals website; station ID: 3381, La Ronge
- Saskatchewan (2010): Saskbiz, Community Profiles: La Ronge