Feb 1st, 2023 @ 12 pm: Ottawa SYP Water Talks – “Warming Cold Regions Groundwater” with Elise Devoie

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What: Ottawa SYP Water Talk
Topic: Warming Cold Regions Groundwater
Guest Speaker:  Élise Devoie
Hi I’m Élise. I am a new assistant professor at Queen’s university in the Civil Engineering department. My work focuses on responsible and productive ways to study hydrology and hydrogeology in cold regions. I am particularly interested in climate change in permafrost environments, and improving our predictive capacity through combining modelling and fieldwork. I have received mentoring from Drs. James Craig, William Quinton, Jeff McKenzie and Stephan Gruber through my PhD at the University of Waterloo and postdoctoral work at McGill, and am grateful for the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of these giants. My new beginning at Queen’s might have some opportunities for you too – I am recruiting graduate students, and looking for new and exciting collaborations, so please let me know if you think we can work together!
Time: Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET
Location: Online Zoom Seminar


Freeze/thaw processes play a fundamental role in cold regions hydrology. From infiltrability to groundwater flow, the quantity of ice in soils controls the movement of water through them. All physically-based groundwater models rely on a soil freezing characteristic curve (SFCC) to relate the unfrozen water content in a soil to its temperature. It is challenging and time consuming to measure an SFCC, and the choice of SFCC used in modelling is often based on numerical stability and computational expense, thus empirical SFCCs are often chosen. However the choice of SFCC can significantly impact simulations of streamflow, soil temperature, and ground ice. A case study of a homogenous, two-dimensional, hillslope underlain by permafrost is simulated in SUTRA-ICE, forced with time-dependant boundary conditions. The model is run with different widely used empirical SFCCs to examine the differences in model prediction. Results show that the choice of SFCC significantly affects permafrost evolution, active layer dynamics, and stream discharge from the model.

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