McMaster Water Resources and Hydrologic Modeling Lab
saguenay grand thames missinaibi

Research


Research Areas

    Hydrologic modelling; Flood forecasting; Water resources; Climate change impact; Adaptation; Statistical hydrology; Hydroinformatics; Remote sensing hydrology; Data assimilation; Hydrometric network design.

Research Overview

    Current research focuses on developing advanced flood forecasting tools by resorting to probabilistic ensemble forecasting systems, sequential data assimilation; and various information integration platforms. Other research topics involve (a) nonstationary methods for storm and flood frequency analysis under changing climate and environmental conditions; (b) the design of optimal water monitoring networks to meet climate change adaptation needs in the water sector; (c) the investigation of machine learning and satellite observations for the development of new integrated hydrologic models in ungauged or poorly gauged basins.

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Research Projects

  • NSERC Canadian FloodNET (2014 - 2019).
    Principal Investigator. Strategic Network - Funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and other Public and Private Partners*.
    *Additional funding and support provided by Partners listed on FloodNet website:
    FloodNet - an NSERC Canadian Strategic Network.
  • Decision Support Tool for Integrated Water Monitoring Network Design and Evaluation (2011 - 2016).
    Principal Investigator. Strategic Project - Funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Environment Canada, Hydro Quebec, and BC Hydro. View Related Publications.
  • Soil Moisture Retrieval and Assimilation for Improved Hydrologic Applications (2012-2013).
    Principal Investigator. Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) - Funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). McMaster MESONET.
  • Modular Hydrologic Ensemble Prediction System (2011-2017).
    Principal Investigator. Funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) - Discovery Grant.
  • High Resolution Soil Moisture Research (2002 - 2006): McMaster Mesonet.
    Principal Investigator. Funded by Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT). View Project Summary.
  • Downscaling of Global Climate Model Outputs for Flood Frequency Analysis in the Saguenay River System (2002 - 2005).
    Principal Investigator. Funded by Environment Canada Climate Change Action Fund. Collaborators: Dr. Yonas Dibike, McMaster University; Dr. Francois Anctil, Université Laval, M. Bruno Larouche, ALCAN Company. View Project Summary.
  • Identification of the Effect of Climate Change on Future Design Standards of Drainage Infrastructure in Ontario (2004 - 2005).
    Principal Investigator. Project funded by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) Highway Infrastructure Innovation Funding Program.
    Collaborators: Dr. Yonas Dibike, McMaster University. View Project Summary.
  • Application des Reseaux de Neurones en Modelisation Hydrologique Deterministe et Probabiliste (2004 - 2006).
    Co-Principal Investigator. Project funded by the National Science and Engineering Council (NSERC) & Hydro-Quebec Company.
    Collaborators: Dr. Francois Anctil (Universite Laval), Dr. Noel D. Evora, Dr. Vincent Fortin, Dr. Luc Perreault (IREQ, Hydro-Quebec). View Project Summary.

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Research Sites

  1. La Grande River Basin
  2. Columbia River Basin
  3. Ottawa River Basin
  4. Humber River Basin
  5. Don River Basin
  6. Saguenay River Basin
  7. Grand River Basin
  8. Thames River Basin
  9. Missinaibi River Basin
  10. Volta River Basin (Gondo Plain)

 

La Grande River Basin

The La Grande River Basin (LGRB) has a drainage area of approximately 209,000 square kilometers and drains into James Bay. Keum et al. (2018) showed the applicability of using SNODAS (Snow Data Assimilation System) products as synthetic data for use in snow monitoring network design. These networks were further evaluated using three hydrologic models to determine the best network for enhanced spring runoff forecasting (Keum et al. 2018).

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Columbia River Basin

This portion of the Columbia River Basin (CRB) is approximately 70,700 square kilometers. Keum et al. (2018) showed the applicability of using SNODAS (Snow Data Assimilation System) products as synthetic data for use in snow monitoring network design. These networks were further evaluated using three hydrologic models to determine the best network for enhanced spring runoff forecasting (Keum et al. 2018). Leach et al. (2015) used streamflow signatures and indicators of hydrologic alteration as additional objectives in DEMO (Dual Entropy Multiobjective Optimization) to identify optimal hydrometric monitoring networks.

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Ottawa River Basin

The Ottawa River is 146,300 square kilometers and is shared by Ontario and Quebec. There are several tributaries including the Outaouais River, Montreal River, Kipawa River, Madawaska River, Gatineau River, and the Lievre River. A section of the Ottawa River basin was used for testing the CRDEMO (Combined regionalization and dual entropy-multiobjectve optimization) approach to network design (Samuel et al. 2012). Additionally, the Ottawa River Basins and its sub-watershed, the Madawaska River, were part of the hydrometric network analysis and design work which assessed the effect basin scale has on network design (Werstuck and Coulibaly, 2016; 2018).

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Humber River Basin

The Humber River basin is 911 square kilometers, is located in Southern Ontario, and drains into Lake Ontario. Recent work within this basin proposed and event-based calibration approach for selecting hydrologic model parameters which can be used improve peak flow prediction at multiple locations (Awol et al. 2018).

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Don River Basin

The Don River Basin is approximately 350 square kilometers, is located in Southern Ontario, and drains into Lake Ontario. Recent work has assessed the effect of combined data assimilation of multiple data products to improve urban watershed modelling (Leach et al. 2018).

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Saguenay River Basin

Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (SLSJ) hydrologic system is located in northern Quebec (see Figure 5). The total area of the river system is about 73,800 square kilometres and it extends between 70.5 o to 74.3 o West and between 47.3 o to 52.2 o North. Saguenay is a well known flood prone area as many Canadians still remember the year-1996 flood of this river. During the period of July 19-21, 1996, a rapidly developing low pressure system with a sea level pressure drop of 20 mb in 24 hours produced heavy rainfall over the Saguenay basin in Quebec. The average precipitation over this period was about 200 mm over an area of 5000 square kilometers. This resulted in the collapse of the dikes at lakes Kénogami and Ha!Ha!. The ensuing floods caused severe damage to eight communities downstream of these lakes, leading to seven deaths and property damage (Yu et al, 1997).

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Grand River Basin

The Grand River forms one of the largest drainage basins in the southwestern portion of the Province of Ontario. The main stream rises at approximately 525 meters above sea level and runs a course of 300 kilometers to Lake Erie. The total drainage area is 6965 square kilometers. Agricultural and rural land use predominate with urban land uses
concentrated in the central portion where most of the basins’ 787,000 residents live.

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Thames River Basin

The Thames River watershed is nestled in the agricultural heartland of southwestern Ontario in close proximity to Lakes Huron, St. Clair and Erie. The river is 273 km long and drains some 5,825 square kilometres of land, making it the second largest watershed in southwestern Ontario. The river is easily accessible to the half million people who reside in its watershed.

The Thames rises at three distinct points near Mitchell (North Thames), Hickson (Middle Thames) and Tavistock (South Thames). The Middle and South Thames join east of London and the North and South Branches meet at the Forks in London, the city’s most important historical landmark. From there, the river flows southwest passing through several communities including Chatham and four First Nations Reserves before it empties into Lake St. Clair at Lighthouse Cove.

The upper branches of the river flow through ancient glacial spillways that formed following the last glacial retreat. The river beds are rocky and the valley slopes are steep, with bluffs or terraces on at least one side. In contrast, the lower Thames carved its own shallow channel into the flat plains of clay and sand. Here, the river bed is soft and the water flow is gentle.

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Missinabi River Basin

Situated in northeastern Ontario, the Missinaibi River flows northeasterly for 426 kilometres from the Abitibi Uplands north of Chapleau to its confluence with the Moose River in the James Bay Lowlands. From its source at Missinaibi Lake, just 5 km north of the division between the Great Lakes and James Bay watersheds, 305 meters above sea level, the Missinaibi River crosses two major geographic regions – the Abitibi Uplands of the Precambrian Shield and the James Bay Lowlands. Its watershed covers an area of 86,500 hectares.

The Missinaibi is especially significant in that it provides a link between Lake Superior, just over 100 km to the west via the Michipicoten River, and James Bay, 72 km east via the Moose River The southern, upstream reaches of the Missinaibi flow through major lakes – Missinaibi and Brunswick, and large wetlands at Hay River and Peterbell, while the river itself is here characterized by a relatively narrow channel with numerous rapids and falls. In its central and longer, more northerly reaches, the river is generally wider and the flow slower, except for the area around Thunderhouse Falls where the river flows swiftly as it drops through steep-walled gorges.

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Volta River Basin (Gondo Plain)

   

 

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