Impacts and feedbacks of snow-vegetation interactions on permafrost hydrology
Polar amplification of global warming is causing rapid ecosystem transformations in the Arctic. While the regional hydrological cycle should intensify due to predicted increase in precipitation, the response of Arctic catchments to changing precipitations and temperatures will be mediated by local interactions with snow, vegetation and permafrost. While interaction processes between snow, vegetation and the ground thermal regime continue to be intensively studied, the integrated impacts and feedbacks of theses interactions on the water balance of permafrost catchments remain poorly know. This information is important to predict the evolution of Arctic ecosystems and their feedbacks on regional climate through changes in albedo and carbon fluxes. This PhD project will study how snow, vegetation and permafrost interactions impact the hydrology of a small catchment on Bylot Island, Arctic Canada. The methods used will include (1) an analysis of the interrelationships between biophysical variables measured along a spatial environmental gradient; (2) upscaling of observations using remote-sensing; (3) integration of the data into a physically based hydrological model and realization of sensitivity analyses of the hydrological balance to changes in climate and surface conditions.
The project will begin between September 2015 and January 2016 under the supervision of Professors Christophe Kinnard and Esther Lévesque at the Department of Environmental Sciences at UQTR (www.uqtr.ca/dse). A three-year scholarship of 21 000$CAN/year is available. Candidates will hold, or be finishing, a Master’s degree in a discipline related to the project (Geography, Hydrology, Ecology). Experience in hydrological modelling, remote-sensing and GIS is desirable. Candidates interested in joining our research group are invited to apply by submitting (1) a letter outlining their motivation and aptitudes for the project, (2) a detailed CV including academic grades, and (3) the name and email of two referees at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The PhD candidate will integrate the RIVE Research Center at UQTR (www.uqtr.ca/rive), the Centre for Northern Studies (www.cen.ulaval.ca) and the Network of Centres of Excellence ArcticNet (www.arcticnet.ulaval.ca).