Assessing snowpack water equivalent distribution in the Exeter-Yamba-Daring Lake catchment, Coppermine River Basin, NWT for passive microwave algorithm development and stable isotope analysis

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, hydrology, snow water equivalence, snow

Principal Investigator: English, Michael C (24)
Licence Number: 14320
Organization: Cold Regions Research Centre - Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: Apr 01, 2008
Project Team: Andrew Rees (Research Scientist - PhD Candidate, Wilfrid Laurier University), Dr. Chris Derksen (Research Scientist, Environment Canada), Arvids Silis (Field Research Scientist, Environment Canada),

Objective(s): The purpose of this research is to develop a more complete understanding of open tundra snow cover properties and distribution.

Project Description: The purpose of this research is to develop a more complete understanding of open tundra snow cover properties and distribution, for application to large basin hydrological modeling, for evaluation of climate model simulations, and for the development and validation of regional satellite passive microwave SWE algorithms.

Seasonal snow cover is a dominant northern landscape feature. It is a very important component of northern water resources and is a key component of hemispheric climate. Emphasis must be placed on understanding snow cover because of observed and simulated climate warming conditions.

Transportation to the Daring Lake camp for the research team will be by twin otter aircraft directly from Yellowknife. Transportation on site and throughout the study region will be by snowmobile (local snow and water surveys) and occasionally by helicopter (regional snow and water surveys). The first objective is to conduct an intensive pre-melt in-situ snow survey for comparison with satellite remote sensing data. Sampling strategy to meet this objective involves measurements of snow depth and snow density both locally (snowmobile) and regionally (helicopter). As lake ice comprises a significant portion of the tundra landscape the researchers are investigating how lake ice may effect interpretation of satellite data. Samples of ice thickness and character as well as lake bathymetry will be obtained in a variety of different lakes in the vicinity of the Daring Lake camp to determine the variability of lake cover properties. The second objective is to obtain water and snow samples from representative catchments throughout the study area to help quantify the contribution of snowmelt water to surface water bodies.
Results will be communicated at a meeting with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Yellowknife. Opportunities to present research at conferences and meetings will be welcomed. Copies of research papers produced will be provided to the Aurora Research Institute library and to local organizations as requested.

Fieldwork will be conducted from April 04 to 13, 2008 within a 50 km radius of the Daring Lake Tundra Ecosystem Research Station (64o 52’ 12” N, 111o 35’ 6” W).