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The Palliser's Triangle

    The climate in Lethbridge is cool and semi-arid, meaning that the area gets a minimal amount of precipitation.  In the summer, there is desert like conditions where the land faces strong, incessant winds and extremely hot weather conditions, especially during the day, but eventually cooling off at night.

    In 1858, the Canadian government sent John Palliser on a scientific expedition of the area know today as southern Alberta.  He and his team of optimistic scientists proclaimed the area an oasis of fertile soil.  They described three distorted triangles of the soil in Alberta, Lethbridge fit in the innermost (see diagram below).  The innermost was the driest and most suseptible to wind and extreme conditions.   Droughts were common with only 355mm/yr of precipitation.  This was due to the rain shadow effect.  In this area, short grasses and shrubs habitate.  Trees are not common unless they grow along rivers.  Palliser's Triangle is similar to desert like conditions, hence the growth of cacti along the coulee ridge. 

  (Lethbridge: A Centennial History, P. 18)

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