Diagnosing and Mitigating Hydrologic Model Uncertainty in High-Latitude Canadian Watersheds

PI: Tricia Stadnyk, University of Manitoba

It has been the recommendation of several International collaborative research projects that stable water isotope (SWI) data could be leveraged to “develop a methodology and monitoring network … to understand hydrological processes in large river basins” (IAEA, 2003). SWIs (δ18O, δ2H) have proven to be useful diagnostic variables for hydrological modelling, with some uncertainty as to the degree of usefulness for parameter constraint. There is a need to quantify the effectiveness of isotope data from large scale monitoring networks, applied in conjunction with observed streamflow, at enhancing hydrologic model calibration and optimization. The benefit, should such soft data methods prove successful, would be enhanced knowledge of model parameter uncertainty, and more realistic parameterization of hydrologic models. Such methods could prove especially value in the cold, vast and complex pan-Canadian watersheds.