To build upon the success of their Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) research group, Western University and ImpactWX are forming another group that is focused on investigating Canada’s severe hail weather.
The new Northern Hail Project (NHP) will partner with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) to analyze hail events over a five-year period, from 2022 to 2026. The group will primarily conduct its research in Alberta. According to data from NTP partner Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc., Canada has been hit with over $2 billion in insured losses due to hailstorms since 2020 – most of which were centred in Alberta.
Western University will assemble a team of field researchers from its engineering department in the following months, who will assess and register damage from hailstorms.
“Damage and losses due to severe storms in Canada are growing, and hail damage is a significant contributor. Like with tornadoes, we feel it is important to have a full picture of the risk associated with this phenomenon,” ImpactWX chair and NTP/NHP research lead Gregory Kopp told The Weather Network in an email statement.
"To do this, we need to track down all of the significant events, even when they don’t hit a city or town, like [what] we do with tornadoes."
According to NTP executive director David Sills, the new project aims to help ensure that Canadians are safe and to mitigate hail damage to property.
"By studying the details of the damage, one can learn about how to mitigate that damage. Also, by tracking down all significant events, we provide ground-truth data for the forecasters who issue warnings, enabling them to improve forecasts and alerts," the executive director said, adding that the NHP will also build an observational data set that can be used for climate change research.