International Association of Hydrological Sciences




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Canadian National Committee for the

International Association of Hydrological Sciences

(CNC-IAHS)


Quadrennial Report

to the

International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics and

International Association of Hydrological Sciences


June 2003


Compiled by


J.W. Pomeroy

University of Wales, Aberystwyth*


*from August 2003, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon


Table of Contents


Introduction

H.G. Jones and J.W. Pomeroy………………………………………………………………………3


Advances in Canadian Forest Hydrology 1999-2003

J.M. Buttle, I.F. Creed, R.D. Moore. ……………………………………………………………….5


Advances in Canadian Wetland Hydrology

J.S. Price, B.A. Branfireun, J.M. Waddington, K.J. Devito………………………………………..20


Snow, Frozen Soils and Permafrost Hydrology in Canada

M.K. Woo and P. Marsh……………………………………………………………………………27


Advances in River Ice Hydrology

B. Morse and F. Hicks………………………………………………………………………………32


A Revised Canadian Perspective: Progress in Glacier Hydrology

D.S. Munro………………………………………………………………………………………….42

Recent Canadian Research on Contemporary Processes of

River Erosion and Sedimentation

D. de Boer, M. Hassan, B. McVicar, and M. Stone………………………………………………..50

Progress in Isotope Tracer Hydrology in Canada

J. Gibson, T.W.D. Edwards, S.J. Birks, N.A. St Armour, B. Buhay,

P. McEachern, B.B. Wolfe and D.L. Peters………………………………………………………..61


A Review of Canadian Remote Sensing and Hydrology, 1999-2003

A. Pietroniro and R. Leconte……………………………………………………………………….70


REFERENCES……………………………………………………………………………………..79

Canadian National Committee for the

International Association of Hydrological Sciences (CNC-IAHS)


Quadrennial Report

to the

International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics and

International Association of Hydrological Sciences

June 2003


INTRODUCTION

CNC-IAHS is a committee of the Hydrological Section of the Canadian Geophysical Union (CGU-HS). The main roles of CNC-IAHS are to

  1. encourage and promote the participation of Canadian scientists in IAHS,

  2. further the collaboration between IAHS and Canadian scientific organizations and institutions, and

  3. respond, on behalf of Canada, to scientific requests of IAHS.

CNC-IAHS also has an administrative role in seeking and supporting the nominations of Canadian hydrologists to executive positions of IAHS and arranging the selection and nomination of National Representatives and National Correspondents to IAHS Commissions and Committees. IAHS is one of the seven associations of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG).


The CNC-IAHS Executive

The Executive of CNC/IAHS consists of the Senior and Junior Canadian National Representatives (NR) for IAHS plus the President and Vice-President of CGU-HS, the Presidents of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) and the Canadian Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists (CCIAH), and one Member-at-Large elected from the general membership of CGU-HS. The Senior NR serves as the Chair of the Committee and the Junior NR as Secretary. The current Chair of CNC-IAHS is Professor Taha Ouarda, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS-ETE), Université du Québec; his term of Office will terminate in April 2005. The Secretary is Professor John Pomeroy, Dept. of Geography, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; he will act as Junior NR until 2005 when he will replace Professor Ouarda as Senior NR.


Major CNC-IAHS activities

Presently, the main activities of CNC-IAHS concern the XXIII General Assembly of IUGG at Sapporo, Japan, in July 2003. These activities are the contribution of CNC-IAHS to the quadrennial report of the Canadian National Committee for IUGG (CNC-IUGG) to be tabled at Sapporo, and the Elections of IAHS Officers and those of the IAHS Commissions to be held during the Plenary Administrative Session of IAHS.

The IAHS election procedure was initiated in the fall of 2002 when CGU-HS and CNC-IAHS circulated a call for the nomination of candidates to stand for office in the IAHS Bureau and that of the IAHS Commissions. All terms of office are for the period 2003-2007 except for position of President, which involves serving two years as President-Elect (2003-2005) and four years as President (2005-2009). The result of the call for nomination resulted in no candidates for the IAHS Bureau elections but two candidates were nominated for office in two IAHS Commissions. D. de Boer was nominated for the position of Secretary of the International Commission on Continental Erosion (ICCE) and A. Pietroniro for the position of President of the International Commission on Remote Sensing (ICRS). In addition two other Canadian candidates were nominated through a separate IAHS procedure. These are: J. Barker for the position of Vice-President of the International Commission on Groundwater (ICGW) and J. Gibson for the position of President of the International Commission on Tracers (ICT). As all these four Canadian candidates are unopposed for Office they will be elected by default.


Other current activities

A Canadian Journal of Hydrology: CNC-IAHS has opened discussions with CGU-HS and CWRA on the opportunity of publishing a Canadian journal devoted to the hydrological sciences. Publication of research in Canadian hydrology is presently fragmented between many journals of varying scientific quality. However, the excellent quality of papers by Canadian hydrologists is generally accepted internationally and would guarantee a high scientific credibility and widespread circulation of such a publication.

There is interest amongst Canadian hydrologists in the IAHS Decade for Prediction of Ungauged Basins as a substantial portion of Canada is poorly or ungauged compared to more densely populated countries. Professor John Pomeroy of the University of Saskatchewan was appointed to the Science Steering Group of PUB and has been asked by the International Commission on Snow and Ice to promote cold regions hydrology issues within PUB.

The Montreal AGU-CGU Meeting, 2004: CNC-IAHS and CGU-HS are looking closely at the need of attracting good Canadian convenors and proposals for special sessions on both Canadian hydrology and the more universal scientific problems of water resources. There is interest in having a special PUB session in Montreal.


Structure of the CNC-IAHS Quadrennial Report to IUGG

The key elements of this report consist of a series of review papers on the progress of Canadian hydrology for the period 1999-2003. Certain members of the Canadian hydrological community were solicited by CNC-IAHS to prepare the works. The papers and authors are:

1) Advances in Canadian Forest Hydrology 1999-2003 (J.M. Buttle, I.F. Creed, R.D. Moore),

2) Advances in Canadian Wetland Hydrology (J.S. Price, B.A. Branfireun, J.M. Waddington, K.J. Devito),

3) Snow, Frozen Soils and Permafrost Hydrology in Canada (M.K. Woo and P. Marsh),

4) Advances in River Ice Hydrology (B. Morse and F. Hicks),

5) A Revised Canadian Perspective: Progress in Glacier Hydrology (D.S. Munro),

6) Recent Canadian Research on Contemporary Processes of River Erosion and Sedimentation (D. de Boer, M. Hassan, B. McVicar, and M. Stone),

7) Progress in Isotope Tracer Hydrology in Canada (J. Gibson, T.W.D. Edwards, S.J. Birks, N.A. St Armour, B. Buhay, P. McEachern, B.B. Wolfe and D.L. Peters).

8) A Review of Canadian Remote Sensing and Hydrology, 1999-2003 (A. Pietroniro and R. Leconte)

These same eight papers will also be submitted for peer review and publication as an insert in the CGU-HS Special Issue of Hydrological Processes to be published in late 2003 or early 2004. The Guest Editorial Board for this issue will be S. Beltaos, L. Martz, D. Moore, and T. Ouarda.


Submitted by H.G. Jones and J.W. Pomeroy for the Canadian National Committee-IAHS.


Advances in Canadian Forest Hydrology, 1999 – 2003


J.M. Buttle1, I.F. Creed2, and R.D. Moore3

1. Department of Geography, Trent University, Peterborough, ON, Canada K9J 7B8

2. Departments of Plant Sciences and Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada K9J 7B8

3. Departments of Geography and Forest Resources Management, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2


Abstract:

Understanding the hydrological processes and properties of Canada’s varied forest types is critical to sustaining their ecological, economic, social and cultural roles. This review examines recent progress in studying the hydrology of Canada’s forest landscapes. Work in some areas, such as snow interception, accumulation and melt under forest cover, has led to modelling tools that can be readily applied for operational purposes. Our understanding in other areas, such as the link between runoff-generating processes in different forest landscapes and hydrochemical fluxes to receiving waters, is much more tentative. The 1999 – 2003 period saw considerable research activity examining the hydrological and biogeochemical response to natural and anthropogenic disturbance of forest landscapes, spurred by major funding initiatives at the provincial and federal levels. This work has provided valuable insight; however, application of the findings beyond the experimental site is often restricted by such issues as a limited consideration of the background variability of hydrological systems, incomplete appreciation of hydrological aspects at the experiment planning stage, and experimental design problems that often bedevil studies of basin response to disturbance. Overcoming these constraints will require, among other things, continued support for long-term hydroecological monitoring programs, the embedding of process measurement and modelling studies within these programs, and greater responsiveness to the vagaries of policy directions related to Canada’s forest resources. Progress in these and related areas will contribute greatly to the development of hydrological indicators of sustainable forest management in Canada.


INTRODUCTION

Forest covers 417.6 million ha of Canada’s land area (almost half the country), and plays critical ecological, economic, social and cultural roles at the local, regional, national and global scales. Sustaining these roles depends in part on knowledge of the dominant hydrological processes and properties of the forest landscapes in Canada’s various ecoregions. This knowledge is critical to understanding such diverse issues as forest productivity; the quantity and quality of water moving to receiving wetlands, streams and lakes; the role of forests in surface – atmosphere exchanges of energy, water and carbon; and the physical and biogeochemical implications of disturbance to forest landscapes. This last theme is of particular relevance given the scale and intensity of forest disturbance in Canada. Thus, ~0.4% of Canada’s forests is harvested each year, while ~0.5% is disturbed by fire or insect outbreaks (Natural Resources Canada 1998). There is evidence that the balance between these forms of forest disturbance is changing. For example, Schroeder and Perera (2002) noted that while the area burned within the managed forest area of Ontario remained relatively constant at 0.5 million ha decade-1 between 1951 and 1990, the total clearcut area increased from 0.5 million ha (1951-1960) to >2 million ha (1981-1990). Our ability to understand, predict and manage the varied consequences of these and other natural and anthropogenic disturbances to forest ecosystems, as well as our efforts to sustain the ecological, economic, social and cultural roles of Canada’s forests, need to be based on sound hydrological principles.

This review builds on an earlier examination of the state of forest hydrology in Canada (Buttle et al. 2000), and identifies progress on many of the major themes discussed in that review. Much of this progress has been driven by several important funding programs initiated shortly before or during the period covered by the present review. These have had an important influence on the location, intensity and objectives of research related to hydrological properties and processes in Canada’s forest landscapes. Examples at the provincial level include the Forest Renewal British Columbia (FRBC) program, which began in the early 1990s and provided a major impetus to forest hydrology research in that province, and the Ontario Living Legacy program, which was initiated in the late 1990s and has supported several projects related to the hydrological consequences of forest disturbance. The major initiative at the federal level was the institution of the Sustainable Forest Management Network (SFMN). Its mission is to develop networks of researchers from universities, industry, government and First Nations that will promote sustainable resource management strategies for Canada’s forests. This network has supported considerable research into the hydroecological implications of forest disturbance in Canada, the initial results of which were summarized in a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (Carignan and Steedman 2000).


PRECIPITATION AND SNOW PROCESSES

Rainfall Interception, Throughfall and Stemflow

The limited Canadian research between 1999 and 2003 on interception, throughfall and stemflow during rainfall in forest stands was mainly concerned with the role of these processes in forest nutrient cycling in forests and the effects of acid deposition on nutrient fluxes from the canopy to the forest floor. The nature of specific hydrologic processes received relatively little attention; nevertheless, the work is still relevant to forest hydrology. Thus, Houle et al. (1999a) assessed the number of collectors required to measure throughfall depth associated with a predetermined error and confidence level as a function of the measurement time interval for a mixed hardwood stand in Quebec. The results assist in designing sampling strategies for estimating throughfall inputs in forest landscapes. Houle et al. (1999b) examined ion deposition in precipitation, throughfall and stemflow in deciduous and coniferous stands in the same drainage basin. Average annual interception in the deciduous and coniferous stands was 11 and 18% of total precipitation, respectively, while stemflow contributed 3 and 1% of the annual net precipitation reaching the forest floor in the deciduous and coniferous stands, respectively. All values agree with those reported in the literature. Gordon et al. (2000) examined throughfall and stemflow fluxes in equal-age plantations of red, black and white spruce in central Ontario. Absolute water fluxes were not reported; however, the relative ranking of throughfall fluxes was black spruce > red spruce > white spruce, while the relative ranking of stemflow fluxes was white spruce > red spruce >> black spruce. These differences were attributed to the unique morphologies (e.g. bark roughness, branch angle, crown structure) associated with each species, and reinforce a recent call (Levia and Frost 2003) to consider morphological properties when assessing interception, throughfall and stemflow studies conducting in differing forest types.

Yanni et al. (2000)’s use of the ForHyM2 model to simulate throughfall and streamflow in four forested basins in south-western Nova Scotia provides an exception to the research focus of the previous studies. Three of the basins in the Yanni et al. (2000) work were dominated by spruce and pine with variable amounts of hemlock and fir, while the fourth basin was dominated by maple, oak, birch and beech. Modelled throughfall agreed well with measurements from nearby basins (Percy 1989), and modelled average annual interception was 9.4% of mean annual gross precipitation. It is worth noting that the authors had to add fog drip contributions of between ~150 to ~180 mm year-1 to water inputs to the basins to obtain good agreement between observed and simulated streamflows. More empirical studies are needed to develop and validate models of this important but often-overlooked process in maritime forests on Canada’s east and west coasts.


Snowfall, Snow Interception, and Snowmelt

Recent progress on snow accumulation and melt in forest landscapes can be placed into three somewhat-overlapping categories: process-based research; integrated process- and modelling-based research; and modelling- and monitoring-based research for operational purposes.


Process-Based Research

Winkler (2001) studied snow accumulation and melt in pine and spruce-fir mature stands, juvenile stands and clearcuts at Mayson Lake and Upper Penticton Creek, south-central British Columbia. Smaller peak snow water equivalent (
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