Hydrology of High Latitude Watersheds

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: physical sciences, hydrology, prediction models, snow

Principal Investigator: Marsh, Philip (31)
Licence Number: 16047
Organization: Wilfrid Laurier University
Licenced Year(s): 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Issued: Feb 09, 2017
Project Team: Philip Marsh (PI, WLU), Branden Walker (Crew Chief, WLU), Anton Jitnikovitch (MSc Student, WLU), Philip Mann (Data analysist, WLU), Evan Wilcox (MSc Student, WLU), Ally Toure (Post Doctoral Fellow, WLU), Alex Maclean (Technician, WLU), Matt Tsui (MSc Student, WLU), Tim Ensom (PhD Student, WLU), Barun Majumder (PhD Student, WLU), To be determined (PhD Student, WLU)

Objective(s): To develop improved understanding of, and ability to predict, snowcover formation, melt, and stream discharge in northern regions; and, to consider the integrated effect of climate on vegetation, snow, permafrost, streamflow, and lakes.

Project Description: The objectives of this project are: 1) to develop improved understanding of, and ability to predict, snowcover formation and melt, as well as stream discharge in northern regions, 2) to consider the integrated effect of climate on vegetation, snow, permafrost, streamflow, and lakes, and 3) to develop improved predictive tools or models. These will allow a better understanding of the impact of climate change and/or natural resource development on the water resources of the NWT.

Field work will start in February, with brief field trips to check sensors and carry out snow measurements within the measurement area of these snow sensors. The research team will then start permanent field observations in late March or early April for measurement of end of winter snow on the ground by using manual snow surveys and airborne sensors. At this time the team will also install new instrumentation and carry out maintenance on existing sensors. Various methods will be used to measure snowmelt, soil moisture, evaporation, streamflow and lake levels. The base camp is located at Trail Valley Creek (at the same site we have had a camp from 1991 to about 2005, and in 2015) and will have researchers at this camp until the fall (from mid- September or into November depending on requirements). Instrumentation and the camp will be prepared for winter in September or October and the team will leave the camp at that time. The research team have discussed with the Aurora Research Institute (ARI) to have staff visit the camp during winter.

The research team have had the assistance of local students and technicians in the past, and will continue to utilize the local assistance in the coming years. The team also hope to hold an "Arctic Hydrology Workshop or Gathering" in Inuvik in order to discuss arctic snow and water with the community. This past Fall the team brought high school students in the field to the main meteorological station and field camp to provide them with hands on field work experience and hope to continue this in the future.

The results of this study are provided to ARI and community groups through the process of applying for this license. As well, journal publications involving this work are available either on request, on line, or in the Inuvik Research Centre library. The team have also talked to various Government of the Northwest Territories groups about printing plain language summarizes of the research, as the team have done in the past. Community meetings will also be held in Inuvik.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 9, 2017 to December 20, 2017.