I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at The University of British Columbia Vancouver. I use advanced statistical methods to understand bi-directional relationships between land use systems and climatic change. I was a contributing author to the Water chapter in the Sixth IPCC Assessment Report (Working Group II). I have also worked as a short-term consultant for the World Bank on the Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020.
Ph.D., Resources, Environment and Sustainability
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Dissertation: Indian agriculture in a changing climate: A statistical analysis
M.A.Sc., Civil Engineering
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Dissertation: Pre-oxidation strategies for improvement of biofiltration performance
B.Tech., Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, New Delhi, India
Dissertation: Performance evaluation of AERMOD and CALINE4 for air quality modelling
Canada has set an emissions target of net-zero by 2050. Avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from and increasing carbon storage in farmlands, forests, grasslands, and wetlands, often termed as natural climate solutions (NCS), will play a significant role in achieving this target. Simultaneously, Canada’s economy will need to shift to cleaner energy sources, including “hard-to-decarbonize” sectors like industry and medium- and heavy-duty freight. Increased reliance on clean fuels (especially biofuels) is expected to compete with NCS for land and feedstock; this incompatibility can lead to inflated estimates of emission reduction potential from NCS and clean fuels, when analyzed separately. My current research aims to reconcile potential emission reductions from NCS with Canada’s clean fuel requirements, through spatial analysis of data from multiple sources including Canada’s Census of Agriculture, carbon accumulation potential maps, and biofuel production and consumption scenarios.
For my doctoral research I developed statistical models for various crops in India to predict future yields (till 2100) under multiple emission scenarios. I am extending that work to build web-based decision support tools that can combine two use cases for crop models within a single framework – immediate (i.e. end-of-season) crop yield forecasting based on current and forecasted weather, and long-term (e.g. end-of-century) crop yield predictions based on long-term climate change scenarios.
Balsher Singh Sidhu, Zia Mehrabi, Navin Ramankutty and Milind Kandlikar
Environmental Research Letters, 18(2), 2023, 024008
Balsher Singh Sidhu
Under review, 2022
Balsher Singh Sidhu, Zia Mehrabi, Milind Kandlikar and Navin Ramankutty
Climatic Change, 173(8), 2022, 1-21
Martina Caretta, Aditi Mukherji, ... Balsher Singh Sidhu, et al.
Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability : Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC (Working Group II Contribution), 2022, 551-712
Vincent Ricciardi, Abdrahmane Wane, Balsher Singh Sidhu, et al.
Nature Sustainability, 3, 2020, 836-844
Balsher Singh Sidhu, Milind Kandlikar and Navin Ramankutty
World Development, 128(1), 2020, 104836
What can statistical models tell us about future crop yields? Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Theory and Practice. University of Delaware, Newark, United States. 07 Oct 2022.
Making Indian agriculture resilient to climate change. Early Career Researchers Talk Series. International Water Management Institute, New Delhi (virtual). 19 Sep 2022.
Impact of climate variability on crop yields in India. Science and Technology for the New Age: Acquisition, Analyses and Adaptation. University of Alberta and IIT Delhi (virtual). 04 Mar 2021.
Sidhu BS, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2021). Indian agriculture in a changing climate: Using CMIP6 projections for predicting yields of multiple crops to 2100. AGU Fall Meeting 2021. Virtual.
Sidhu BS, Mehrabi Z, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2020). Machine learning methods for estimating the impact of climate change on Indian crop yields. AGU Fall Meeting 2020. Virtual.
Sidhu BS, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2019). Sub-seasonal monsoon variability as a driver of crop yields in India. Water Future Conference. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
Sidhu BS, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2019). Power tariffs for groundwater irrigation in India: A comparative analysis of the environmental, equity, and economic tradeoffs. Water Future Conference. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.
Sidhu BS, Mehrabi Z, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2019). Assessing the resilience of Indian agriculture to monsoon variability. Global Land Project. University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Sidhu BS, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2018). Restructuring agricultural power tariffs in India to meet multiple Sustainable Developments Goals. Sustainability and Development Conference 2018. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.
Sidhu BS, Kandlikar M, Ramankutty N (2018). Optimized agricultural power tariffs as a means of achieving Sustainable Developments Goals in India. International Conference on Engaging Canada and India: Challenges of Sustainable Development Goals. New Delhi, India.
Sidhu BS, Taylor-Edmonds L, McKie MJ, Andrews RC (2016). Combining biofiltration with pre-oxidation for improved removal of organic matter. Water Quality Technology Conference and Exposition. Indianapolis, United States.
Sidhu BS, Taylor-Edmonds L, Andrews RC (2016). Pre-oxidation strategies for biofiltration performance improvement. Canadian National Conference on Drinking Water. Ottawa, Canada.
Sidhu BS, Nemani V, Ondul B, Sharma D, Wong K (2016). In-pipe hydroelectricity generation from wastewater flow. Cities of Tomorrow Showcase. Toronto, Canada.
Sidhu BS, Sharma, D, Tuteja, T, Gupta, S, Kumar, A (2013). Human health risk assessment of heavy metals from Bhalaswa landfill. International Humboldt Kolleg on Management of Water, Energy and Bio-resources in Changing Climate Regime. New Delhi, India.
Sidhu BS, Pandit A, Kumar A (2012). Titanium dioxide nanoparticles removal from water. 6th World Aqua Congress. New Delhi, India.
Analytical Methods in Sustainability Science (ENVR 440), University of British Columbia
* 96% “favorable” score (students who “Agreed” / “Strongly Agreed”) for facilitating overall learning
* Letter of commendation from Dean (Sciences) for some of the highest student evaluations
2018, 2019 Climate Change & Energy Futures (IRES VSP), UBC Vancouver Summer Program
Introduction to Sustainability (ASIC 220), University of British Columbia
2017 Analytical Methods in Sustainability Science (ENVR 440), University of British Columbia
2017 Sustainable Energy: Policy and Governance (CONS 425), University of British Columbia
2014 - 2015 Water and Wastewater Treatment Processes, University of Toronto
2014 - 2015 Environmental Impact and Risk Assessment (CIV 440), University of Toronto
2013 Urban Engineering Ecology (CIV 220), University of Toronto
2013 Introduction to Environmental Engineering (CEL 212), IIT Delhi
2012 Indian economic problems and policies (HUL 216), IIT Delhi
2018 - 2019
Course Development: Developed data-driven, interdisciplinary case study modules for
teaching sustainability analysis across multiple courses, University of British Columbia
2018 - Guest Lectures on sustainability and climate change for UBC’s First-Year Seminars,
Extended Learning program, Climate Teaching Connector, and Science 101 course.
2017 Course Instructor Certificate, Instructional Skills Workshop, University of British Columbia
2017 Associate, Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (NSF)
2018 - 2021
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, NSERC Canada
2016 - 2020 Four Year Doctoral Fellowship, University of British Columbia
2016 Olav Slaymaker Scholarship for Environment, University of British Columbia
2013 - 2015 Graduate Student Fellowship, University of Toronto
2013 - 2016 Graduate Research Assistant Scholarship, University of Toronto
2011 - 2012 Scholarship for Academic Excellence, IIT Delhi
2006 - 2013 National Talent Search Examination Scholarship, Government of India
Graduate Student Travel Award, University of British Columbia
2016 RES Student Travel Award, University of British Columbia
2016 - 2021 International Tuition Award, University of British Columbia
2016 Faculty of Science Graduate Award, University of British Columbia
2016 Winner, Cities of Tomorrow competition, Ontario Urban Mayors’ Caucus
2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Award, IIT Delhi
2007 Third Rank, National Frank Anthony Memorial Debate
Are we running out of clean water?
I collaborated with TED-Ed to produce a short lesson, accessible to a wider global audience, on the world’s water consumption patterns and the role citizens can play in ensuring sustainable consumption of this precious resource.
The Colours of Food Security
An exhibit by the Land Use and Global Environment lab at UBC Vancouver to showcase a series of bold and striking maps that present a vivid picture of global agriculture and key issues surrounding our food systems by viewing them from multiple angles.
The Nature of Food
A collaborative blog project of the Land Use and Global Environment lab on everything related to agriculture, food security, environment, and academia in general.
Articles in newspapers and magazines
Before starting my research journey on land use and climate change in 2016, I was trained as an engineer. My undergraduate and master’s degrees in Civil Engineering gave me the opportunity to dabble with multiple research topics, including earthquake-resistant buildings, risk assessment of heavy metals in groundwater, removal of titanium dioxide nanoparticles from water, air pollution modelling using AERMOD and CALINE 4, and advanced drinking water treatment processes.
But I always wanted to work in the field of agriculture and sustainability. This desire probably stems from the fact that I grew up in Punjab (India), a state in north-western India. This region was home to the Green Revolution in the 1960s, and is often called the breadbasket of India. But rapid increase in food production came at a huge cost to our water resources.
Punjab derives its name from the Persian words panj (five) and āb (water), meaning the “land of five rivers”. But today my state has gained notoriety for its rapidly depleting groundwater levels. The most recent government report notes that groundwater extraction in Punjab has already reached 165% (of naturally available recharge), and the state has maximum percentage of wells showing groundwater depletion among all states in India. My article on the causes and potential solutions for this problem can be found here.
Here is a photo of a groundwater extraction well, 1.5 million of which dot Punjab’s landscape today. Many eventually run dry, including the one on my grandfather’s farm. Having seen the undesirable outcomes of unsustainable farming practices at close quarters, I want to contribute towards making our agricultural and land use systems more sustainable and climate-resilient. It seems to be my Ikigai.
The code for this website was re-purposed from Gautam Rao’s public Github repository.