Man Kong (Peter) Yau

Man Kong (Peter) Yau

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
McGill University

Chair title

NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Industrial Research Chair in Short-term Forecasting of Precipitation

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2009


The efficient generation of hydro-electric power heavily depends on inflow into reservoirs and drainage basins. In turn, the most important factor affecting inflow is the amount and type of precipitation. A central tool used in the operational forecasting of precipitation is the numerical weather prediction model. Despite rapid advances in computer technology, improvement in the skill of quantitative precipitation forecasts remains slow, and a critical need exists for research focused on precipitation forecasting.

The objective of the research program for the NSERC/Hydro-Quebec Chair is to improve short-term forecasting of the type and amount of precipitation for a period of 24 to 48 hours in advance of the event. The main activities of the Chair will focus on three research themes:

1. Improve the representation of cloud and precipitation processes in weather prediction models.
2. Evaluate and improve techniques to incorporate high-resolution observations into the initial conditions for model forecasts.
3. Develop a regional ensemble prediction system for probabilistic precipitation forecasts.

The IRC research program capitalizes on the Chair’s internationally-recognized strength in precipitation modeling and Environment Canada’s state-of-the-art data assimilation and numerical modeling capacity to improve the prediction of precipitation and aid Hydro-Quebec in hydrological forecasts. It will also create a stimulating environment for collaborative research between McGill trainees, Hydro-Quebec scientists and researchers at the Meteorological Research Division of Environment Canada. This unique partnership of university, industry and government will advance Canada’s capability to understand and predict precipitation, with significant economic benefits for hydro-electric power generation.


  • Hydro-Québec
  • Meteorological Research Division of Environment Canada/Division de la recherche météorologique d'Environnement Canada

Contact information

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
McGill University
Burnside Hall, Rm. 945
805 Sherbrooke West
Montreal, Québec
H3A 2K6

Tel.: 514-398-3719
Fax: 514-398-6115


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