Snow accumulation / runoff in high latitude permafrost basins
Principal Investigator: Marsh, Philip (31)
Licence Number: 12852
Organization: National Hydrology Research Institute
Licenced Year(s): 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995 1994 1993 1992 1990
Issued: May 14, 1996
Project Team: Dr. J. Pomeroy, Mr. C. Onclin, Ms. N. Neuman, Mr. M. Russell & Mr. B. Reid

Objective(s): To determine the rates of and processes controlling: accumulation of snow, snowmelt, water flux through snowcovers; exchange of water between snowcover, active layer and permafrost; movement of solutes and nutrients through the snowcover and to the stream channel; to determine the effect of snow/soil temperature regime and vegetation types of runoff processes; to develop physically based, predictive models of snowmelt runoff.

Project Description: Snow plays an important role in northern ecosystems. It accounts for a large portion of the years total precipitation and therefore when its melts in the spring it is responsible for significant flood, for increased soil moisture upon which plants are reliant for summer growth, & for refilling lakes and ponds. Snowcover stores atmospheric input of solutes, nutrients, & pollutants during the winter, and then releases them to the ecosystem during the spring melt. Snowcover insulates the ground, providing warmer ground temperatures and a better environment for overwintering of small animals and vegetation. This study will look at the role of snowcover in controlling streamflow ecosystems. Also develop computer models to predict distribution and properties of snow, its melt and runoff during the spring period. Also examine forest / tundra ecosystem and climate change effects.