Modelling the energy and water balance and characteristics of lakes in the Mackenzie River Basin.
Principal Investigator: Rouse, Wayne R (4)
Licence Number: 13176
Organization: McMaster University
Licenced Year(s): 2001
Issued: Apr 17, 2001
Project Team: Claire Oswald, Devon White

Objective(s): The general objectives of the proposed research project are: (1) to fully understand and model the role of lakes in the energy and water balances of the Mackenzie River Basin; and (2) forecast the role that lakes will play during periods of climatic change with respect to their energy and water balances. Specific objectives include (1) documenting the areal coverage and frequency distribution of lakes in the Mackenzie River Basin; (2) determining the relationship between lake size (volume, depth, area, ect.) and the components of the energy balance; and (3) examining light penetration into different lakes and its effects on heating and cooling rates. This work is important in light of recent climate warming trends in the region of the Mackenzie River Basin and other areas of arctic and sub-arctic Canada. Lakes of varying sizes are a major feature of these regions and they are all very sensitive to climate change. Since lakes are a major component of most Northern atmospheric and hydrologic systems, the ability to model their energy and water budgets is critical to forecasting high latitude weather, climate and river flow patterns. To build such models, it is necessary to collect climate data from the Northern regions, specifically the Mackenzie River Basin.

Project Description: The field work associated with the proposed study will consist of the collection of climate data, such as air temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, amount of rain fall, water temperatures and light penetration into the lake. Similar equipment will be used to collect this data at all sites. Air temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, water temperatures and light penetration will be measured electronically, while rain fall will be determined by use of a rain guage. The research team will be based out of Yellowknife for the duration of the study. Trips to fly camps (ranging from 2-7 days) will be made by float plane and helicopter. The camp will consist of one sleeping tent per team member and one cooking tent. All garbage will be packed out, and human waste buried at the camp sites.