GIS-based Modeling of Drought and Historical Population Change on the Canadian Prairies

Journal of Historical Geography, Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 43-56

Robert McLemana, Sam Herolda, Zoran Reljica, Mike Sawadaa, and Daniel McKenney”

This article describes the development of a GIS-based model of historical drought and population change in western Canada, designed to support qualitative field research into drought adaptation and migration. The model combines digitized census data and recently available modeled historical climate data at a 10 km2 grid cell scale and can be used to generate maps of ‘hotspots’ where historical declines in rural populations may be associated with extended periods of heat and lack of precipitation. The results suggest a promising avenue for expanding and refining GIS-based modeling of historical human–climate interactions to support qualitative research and to potentially serve as a stepping stone toward forecasting future risk areas of drought-related migration in continental dryland areas.”