Providing Regional Climate Services to British Columbia

You are here

The Canadian Institute for Climate Studies

The Canadian Institute for Climate Studies (CICS) was a not-for-profit Canadian corporation from 1993-2006 established to further the understanding of the climate system, its variability and potential for change and the application of that understanding to decision making in both the public and private sectors. The Institute was housed within the Centre for Global Studies' Climate & Energy Division at the University of Victoria.

  • CICS was the secretariat for the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) when PCIC began in 2005. CICS became the consortium in 2006.
  • CICS was founded in 1993 to manage the Climate Research Network, a six-year project to stimulate applied research which would directly improve Environment Canada's Canadian Global Climate Model.
  • Another major project was the Canadian Climate Impacts Scenarios (CCIS) Project. CCIS provided Global Climate Model (GCM) results for North America from several international modelling centres along with tools to facilitate impacts analysis and further research based on these climate change experiments. We assist climate change impacts and policy researchers to use techniques that are consistent and recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). CCIS provided climate change scenario background information, training, workshops, and advice to the climate vulnerability, impacts, adaptation, and policy research communities. The project had over 1000 registered users.
  • CICS' Climate Applications team completed several projects in areas such as:
    • impacts analysis
    • regional downscaling
    • trends analysis
    • seasonal climate predictions
    • quarterly climate science newsletter

Consulting services were offered to individual climate sensitive industries and organisations who needed assistance incorporating climate change considerations into their forward planning. CICS was committed to delivering state-of-the-art services and techniques to analyse regional impacts of climate change so that climate-sensitive industries had the most reliable information on which to base planning and decision-making. Please see the list of projects and contributions for more information.

Below is a list of selected projects from 1993-2006. More information on them and other CICS activities can be found at and a compressed file of all downloads from the site is available at

1.   Scenarios

1.     Development and management of Canadian Climate Impacts and Scenarios project website - including background information, training, visualisation, tools, and data from several Global Climate Models.

2.     Climate scenarios presentations to industry and governmental groups, including Fraser Basin Council, Canadian Water Resources Association, SaskPower, and several regions and sectors of the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network.

3.     BC Water Balance Model Provided expertise and data to project in order to implement the ability for users to consider future climate scenarios of Precipitation and Evapotranspiration into their decision making with the BC Water Balance Model.

4.     Provided expertise and data to Royal BC Museum permanent climate change exhibit. The gallery rewinds BC’s climatic timeline to reveal new insight into British Columbia’s past, advances to the importance of human and natural forces influencing BC’s present, and projects the impact of climate change on its future, using results of work carried out in conjunction with the Canadian Institute for Climate Studies.

5.     Greater Vancouver Regional District Together with Kerr Wood Leidal and Dr. Ian McKendry of UBC, studied trends in precipitation throughout the GVRD; investigated trends and proposed causes where trends were found and examined the evidence for precipitation scenarios for the future. Results have been published in the Journal of the Canadian Water Resources Association.

6.     Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Reviewed and prepared a review of the use of climate change information in past major projects (e.g. Confederation Bridge, Decommissioning of Elliot Mines) which have been subject to federal/provincial environmental assessment. Co-authored section on the use of climate change scenarios in environmental assessments.

7.     Provided expertise to Spatial climate data and assessment of climate change impacts on forest ecosystems for development of ClimateBC High Resolution climate scenarios based on PRISM D. Spittlehouse, Research Branch, BC Ministry of Forests, A. Hamman and T. Wang, Centre for Forest Gene Conservation, Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia.

8.     Provided expertise to multi-disciplinary research team led by Dr. Ann Chan-Mcleod at the Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, on the Effects of Climate Change on Waterfowl in the Western Boreal Forest and Implications for Food Supply and Mitigation Strategies.

9.     Provided expertise, historical climate data and climate scenarios for Compass Consulting project on Climate Change Adaptation Planning in Mt Robson Provincial Park.

10.   Canadian Climate Action Fund Project using comprehensive Climate Severity Indices as a measure, determined the capacity of climate models to simulate extremes in the instrumented past climate and in their projections of future climate. Projection of Climate severity indices to future periods, presented in a format accessible by impacts researchers and the public.

11.   Slocan Lumber Prepared a Climate change review “Climate Change and Slocan’s Sustainable Forest Management Model.” It provides an overview of past climate trends and future scenarios of climate change in BC and the potential impacts on forests and its stakeholders in the context of the SFMP. It surveys climate change-forestry impact research activity, suggests key questions when considering climate change in the SFMP and recommends follow-up actions.

12.   CRD Hartland An examination of past extreme precipitation, trends and future scenarios of precipitation at Hartland Landfill.

2.   Climate Trends and Indicators

1.     Environmental Indicators Led a project to develop environmental indicators of climate change for the Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection, Province of British Columbia. The results from this were published by BC in 2002 in a document Indicators of Climate change for British Columbia 2002.

2.     Made a significant contribution to the development of National Environmental Indicators for the Canadian Ministers of the Environment by examining a large number of climate parameters for all national climatic zones.

3.   Liason with Decision Makers

1.     Produce Climate Network Newsletter for decision makers with an interest in climate science.

2.     ClimExec The ClimExec briefing series provides senior executives an opportunity for dialogue with eminent climate change scientists involved in the IPCC process. It comprises presentations by eminent scientists and Question & Answer periods afterwards.

3.     Seafood Sustainability in a Changing Climate CICS spearheaded this workshop which marked the first time that all the Pacific Coast's seafood industries had been brought together with scientific experts on climate change to discuss the impacts of climate change on their industries.

4.     Frequently asked questions on climate change Developed FAQ for a layperson audience on behalf of the BC Climate Exchange - Ask An Expert.

5.     Outreach and education initiatives to researchers and the public in partnership with other organizations. For example, we have contributed to the BC Climate Exchange and the C-CIARN BC region.

6.     Management of climate related research such as the Climate Research Network.

4.   Seasonal Climate Predictions

1.     Led the development of a technique to offer products for seasonal climate prediction of a wide range of climate elements.

2.     Development of client-specific predictions such as crop harvest prediction for KAPT-AL Feed Services and probability of extreme minimum temperatures and heating-degree-days in winter for BC Gas (now Terasen).