Community Assessment & Adaptation Options:
Prince Albert is Saskatchewan's 3rd largest city and is located along the North Saskatchewan River near the centre of the province. Prince Albert is found within the Boreal Transition Ecoregion, often described as where the "pine meets the prairie".
Prince Albert is a diverse community both culturally and economically. The population is largely a mix of Aboriginal Peoples and those of European heritage. The city is a service, retail and distribution centre catering to the region's agriculture, forestry, mining (e.g. uranium, diamonds, gold) and tourism and outdoor recreation interests. The tourism sector is growing.
The Boreal Transition Ecoregion, is nearly 50% cultivated with the remainder forested, including many designated parks and protected areas. Major communities include Meadow Lake, Nipawin and Melfort. Land use includes forestry, agriculture and tourism, and outdoor recreation. The forest sector is currently struggling due to depressed markets for pulp and paper, lumber and panelboard.
Climate Normals (1971-2000)
- The average daily temperature ranges from -19.1°C in January to 17.5°C in July with 5 months being below 0 (November to March). The lowest average daily minimum temperature is -25.2°C experienced in January and the highest average daily maximum temperature of 23.9°C is experienced in August.
- The annual precipitation is about 425 mm of which 75% is rainfall and the remainder snow. 53% falls in the months of April, May, June, July.
- The average monthly wind speed is low - between 10.4 km/hr (January) and 14.2 km/hr (May).
- An indication of the demand for cooling and heating is provided by the number of degree-days above 18°C - 71 and number of degree days below 18°C - 6277.
- There are a total of 2216 sunshine hours per year (higher than Swift Current) with a minimum of 21 days with measurable sunshine in December and over 30 days in each of July and August.
Over the next century to 2100 climate scenarios suggest:
- A warmer climate - temperatures may generally rise 1.5 to 3 degrees.
- A longer growing season - but drier. This is a result of increased temperatures and increased evapotranspiration, despite a marginal increase in precipitation.
- There will be a demand for summer cooling.
- A shorter, milder winter. Heating requirements may be reduced by 10% to 20%.
Regional Adaptation Options
- The opportunities for year-round tourism and outdoor recreation should be increased, particularly due to a longer summer season and milder winters. Winter activities may have to be curtailed, at times, due to lack of snow cover or sufficient ice thickness.
- Forest management will need to deal with vulnerabilities arising from fire, insect and disease infestations and a shorter winter season for harvesting activities.
- Some forest may revert to grassland, unless new tree species are introduced. Forest cover is already being lost due to land use changes.
- Development and reclamation associated with mining exploration and development should adapt to the changing climate conditions to enhance environmental performance.
- 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, Ecozones and Ecoregions.
- Environment Canada (2010): National Climate Data and Information Archive, Canadian Climate Normals website; station ID: 3322, Prince Albert
- Saskatchewan (2010): Saskbiz, Community Profiles: Prince Albert