The Office of Graduate Programs is pleased to announce that Rajtantra Lilhare will be defending their dissertation entitled “Assessing the Effects of Uncertainty and Climate Change on Hydrological Simulations Across a Permafrost Gradient in North-Central Canada” as a candidate for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. We encourage you to view the defence online. The details on the defence and how to join are included below.
DATE: June 4, 2020
TIME: 9:00 AM PST
Meeting ID: 932 9621 3213
To ensure the defence proceeds with no interruptions, please mute your audio and video on entry and do not share your screen inadvertently. The meeting will be locked to entry 5 minutes after it begins, ensure you are on time.
Hudson Bay, a vast inland sea in northern Canada, receives the highest average annual freshwater from the Nelson River system among all other contributing rivers. A rapidly changing climate and flow regulation from hydroelectric developments alter Nelson River streamflows timing and magnitude, affecting Hudson Bay’s physical, biological, and biogeochemical state. Despite recent developments and advances in climate datasets, hydrological models, and computational power, modelling the Hudson Bay system remains particularly challenging. Therefore, this dissertation addresses crucial research questions from the Hudson Bay System (BaySys) project by informing how climate change impacts variability and trends of freshwater-marine coupling in Hudson Bay. To that end, I present a comprehensive intercomparison of available climate datasets, their performance, and application within the macroscale Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model, over the Lower Nelson River Basin (LNRB). This work aims to identify the VIC parameters sensitivity and uncertainty in water balance estimations and investigates future warming impacts on soil thermal regimes and hydrology in the LNRB.
An intercomparison of six climate datasets and their equally weighted mean reveals generally consistent air temperature climatologies and trends (1981–2010) but with a prominent disagreement in annual precipitation trends with exceptional wetting trends in reanalysis products. VIC simulations forced by these datasets are utilized to examine parameter sensitivity and uncertainties due to input data and model parameters. Findings suggest that infiltration and prescribed soil depth parameters show prevailing seasonal and annual impacts, among other VIC parameters across the LNRB. Further, VIC simulations (1981–2070) reveal historical and possible future climate change impacts on cold regions hydrology and soil thermal conditions across the study domain. Results suggest that, in the projected climate, soil temperature warming induces increasing baseflows as future warming may intensify infiltration processes across the LNRB. This dissertation reports essential findings in the application of state-of-the-art climate data and the VIC model to explore potential changes in hydrology across the LNRB’s permafrost gradient with industrial relevance of future water management, hydroelectric generation, infrastructure development, operations, optimization, and implementation of adaptation measures for current and future developments.