Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in Great Plains Research 7:2 (Fall 1997). Copyright © 1997 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


The microclimate of an aboriginal winter campsite, set in an incised, south-facing meander of a small creek, is compared to the conditions on the adjacent open prairie at Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Maximum and minimum temperatures and wind speeds were measured daily, on the prairie and in the valley, along with temperatures in a modern canvas tipi erected in the valley. Maximum temperatures tended to be about 1 °C higher in the valley, and 2 °C higher in the tipi, than on the prairie, while minima were 1-2 °C lower. Wind speeds were reduced to about 50% in the valley. Windchill factors, derived from these data, were reduced between 200 and 250 W m-2 , suggesting that the valley site afforded considerable benefit as a winter habitation site.