Barrie R. Bonsal

Image Barrie R. Bonsal
Research Scientist - Climate Impacts on Hydrology and Ecology

Conduct research to examine past and projected future climate change and variability on freshwater availability across Canada.

Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s mandate to conserve and protect Canada's water resources.


Research and/or project statements

  • Past and Projected Future Climate Impacts on Freshwater Availability across Canada
  • Historical and Future Extreme Hydro-Climatic Events across Canada: Droughts and Floods
  • Large to Synoptic-Scale Atmospheric Patterns Influencing Northern Hemisphere Hydro-Climate
  • Assessment of Modelled and Observed Climate across Canada
  • Historical Trends and Variability in Canadian Hydro-Climate

Professional activities / interests

Lead author of the Freshwater Availability chapter in Canada's Changing Climate Report led by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Canadian Climate-Change Impacts Lead with respect to negotiating amendments to the Bi-national Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Reviewer of several Environmental Impact Assessments including the Mackenzie Gas Project, the Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment, various Oil Sand’s Mining Developments in Alberta, the Site C hydro-dam in British Columbia, and the Star-Orion South Diamond Project in Saskatchewan. 

Thesis committee member of 2 PhD and 5 MSc students via Adjunct Professorships with the Department of Geography at the Univerisity of Saskatchewan and the University of Victoria.

Education and awards

Environment and Climate Change Canada's 2019 Citation in the Exceptional Quality of Work

Environment Canada’s 2012 Citation in the Excellent Quality of Work

Visiting Fellowship in Canadian Government Laboratories (1996-1998)

Key publications

Bonsal, B.R., D.L. Peters, F. Seglenieks, A. Rivera, and A. Berg, 2019. Changes in freshwater availability across Canada; Chapter 6 in Canada’s Changing Climate Report, (ed.) E. Bush and D.S. Lemmen; Government of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

Tam, B., K. Szeto, B. Bonsal, G. Flato, A.J. Cannon, and R. Rong, 2018. CMIP5 drought projections in Canada based on the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index. Canadian Water Resources Journal, doi: 10.1080/07011784.2018.1537812.

Bonsal, B.R., R. Aider, P. Gachon, and S. Lapp. 2013. An Assessment of Canadian Prairie Drought: Past, Present, and Future. Climate Dynamics, 41, 501-516.

Yusa, A., P. Berry, J. Cheng, N. Ogden, B. Bonsal, R. Stewart, and R. Waldick. 2015. Climate change, drought, and human health in Canada. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12, 8359-8412; doi:10.3390/ijerph120708359.

Sauchyn, D., B. Bonsal, S. Kienzle, J. St Jacques, J. Vanstone, and E. Wheaton. 2015.   Adaptation according to mode of climate variability: A case study from Canada’s western interior, pp 1353-1380 in Filho, W.L. (ed.), The Handbook of Climate Change Adaptation, Springer, Berlin. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-40455-9_93-1.

Bonsal, B.R., E.E. Wheaton, A. Chipanshi, C. Lin, D.J. Sauchyn, and L. Wen. 2011. Drought research in Canada: A review. Atmosphere-Ocean, 49, 303-319.

Bonsal, B.R. and A. Shabbar. 2008. Impacts of large-scale circulation variability on low streamflows over Canada: A review. Canadian Water Resources Journal, 33, 137-154.

Research facility

11 Innovation Blvd.
Saskatoon, SK S7N 3H5


Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, University of Saskatchewan.

Adjunct Professor, Department of Environment and Geography, University of Manitoba.