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Wilfrid Laurier University Office of Research Services
October 1, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Wolf Creek, Yukon

Runoff Processes and Model Development

This research relates the physical properties of organic soils of arctic and alpine tundra, taiga and northern peatlands to their transmission properties. A mass-flow algorithm was developed to estimate the hydraulic conductivity from pore soil physical properties. A thermal algorithm for estimating the rate of active layer development was also developed, since the estimation of subsurface flow requires that the elevation and thickness of the saturated layer be known, because soil permeability decreases exponentially with depth. The mass and thermal algorithms were coupled and incorporated into the Cold Regions Hydrological Model (CRHM) and is currently being evaluated with field measurements. A 2-D approach to handle coupled snowmelt and soil thaw processes over time, as well as an approach for estimating the spatial distribution of soil thaw resulting from spatial variations in snow mass and melt energy is being developed for CRHM. This will assist in the understanding of the seasonal development of subsurface flowpaths. A finite element scheme is also being developed so that estimates of subsurface drainage can be derived for specific soil moisture and thaw conditions.

Evaluation and development of mass and energy transfer algorithms for wet organic terrain. Collaborators include Drs. S.K. Carey (Carleton University), M. Hayashi (University of Calgary), J.W. Pomeroy (University of Saskatchewan), E.D. Soulis (University of Waterloo), and K.L. Young (York University).