Assessing snowpack water equivalent in the Yamba-Daring catchment, Coppermine River Basin, NWT for passive microwave development

Regions: North Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, remote sensing, snow water equivalence, snow

Principal Investigator: English, Michael C (24)
Licence Number: 14719
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2012 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Issued: May 19, 2010
Project Team: Andrew Rees (Researcher, Wilfrid Laurier University), Zac Corbett (Field assistant, Wilfrid Laurier University)

Objective(s): To complete a thorough sampling of the snowpack in the Yamba-Daring Lake catchment (in an area measuring approximately 625km) for snowpack, stratigraphy, water equivalent and snow crystal size.

Project Description: The studies objective is to complete a thorough sampling of the snowpack in the Yamba-Daring Lake catchment (in an area measuring approximately 625km2 for snowpack, stratigraphy, water equivalent and snow crystal size.

Snowpack sampling will cover an area which is equal to an SSM/I (Special Sensor Microwave Imager) satellite pixel (25km x 25km). Sampling will follow established transects that follow a grid with coordinates that are loaded into hand-held GPS Garmin units. Site selection is based on a stratified random sample. Stratification of sample selection is related to 14 terrain units identified from a DEM constructed from digital 1:50,000 topographic maps. These include physical attributes such as slope, aspect, elevated plateau, valley, lake surface, etc. Within each terrain unit a sample site is randomly selected. At each site 30 snowpack depth measurements are recorded, an Environment Canada snowtube is used to gather a composite vertical core from the snowpack and weighed to determine snowpack water equivalent (SWE) a snow pit is excavated and the snowpack stratigraphy is measured, (each strata results from either individual snow storms and/or wind events) for density and depth (hence water equivalent). The research site is located approximately 140km east of Wekweti and 300 km north of Yellowknife.

Copies of papers produced from this work will be sent to the Aurora Research Institute in Inuvik and to the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry in Yellowknife. A copy of the PhD resulting from this work of Andrew Rees will be sent both to ARI in Inuvik and the ENR in Yellowknife.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted in Spring, 2010.