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Advances in modelling large river basins in cold regions with Modélisation Environmentale Communautaire - Surface and Hydrology (MESH), the Canadian hydrological land surface scheme
  • +17
  • Howard Wheater,
  • John Pomeroy,
  • Alain Pietroniro,
  • Bruce Davison,
  • Mohamed Elshamy,
  • Fuad Yassin,
  • Prabin Rokaya,
  • Abbas Fayad,
  • Zelalem Tesemma,
  • Daniel Princz,
  • Youssef Loukili,
  • Chris DeBeer,
  • Andrew Ireson,
  • Saman Razavi,
  • Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt,
  • Amin Elshorbagy,
  • Matthew MacDonald,
  • Mohamed Abdelhamed,
  • Amin Haghnegahdar,
  • Ala Bahrami
Howard Wheater
University of Saskatchewan
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John Pomeroy
University of Saskatchewan
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Alain Pietroniro
University of Calgary
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Bruce Davison
Environment Canada
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Mohamed Elshamy
University of Saskatchewan
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Fuad Yassin
University of Saskatchewan
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Prabin Rokaya
University of Saskatchewan
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Abbas Fayad
University of Saskatchewan
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Zelalem Tesemma
University of Saskatchewan
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Daniel Princz
Environment and Climate Change Canada
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Youssef Loukili
University of Saskatchewan
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Chris DeBeer
University of Saskatchewan
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Andrew Ireson
University of Saskatchewan
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Saman Razavi
University of Saskatchewan
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Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt
University of Saskatchewan
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Amin Elshorbagy
University of Saskatchewan
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Matthew MacDonald
University of Edinburgh
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Mohamed Abdelhamed
University of Saskatchewan Department of Civil Geological and Environmental Engineering
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Amin Haghnegahdar
University of Saskatchewan
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Ala Bahrami
University of Saskatchewan
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Abstract

Cold regions provide water resources for half the global population yet face rapid change. Their hydrology is dominated by snow, ice and frozen soils, and climate warming is having profound effects. Hydrological models have a key role in predicting changing water resources, but are challenged in cold regions. Ground-based data to quantify meteorological forcing and constrain model parameterization are limited, while hydrological processes are complex, often controlled by phase change energetics. River flows are impacted by poorly quantified human activities. This paper reports scientific developments over the past decade of MESH, the Canadian community hydrological land surface scheme. New cold region process representation includes improved blowing snow transport and sublimation, lateral land-surface flow, prairie pothole storage dynamics, frozen ground infiltration and thermodynamics, and improved glacier modelling. New algorithms to represent water management include multi-stage reservoir operation. Parameterization has been supported by field observations and remotely sensed data; new methods for parameter identification have been used to evaluate model uncertainty and support regionalization. Additionally, MESH has been linked to broader decision-support frameworks, including river ice simulation and hydrological forecasting. The paper also reports various applications to the Saskatchewan and Mackenzie River basins in western Canada (0.4 and 1.8 million km2). These basins arise in glaciated mountain headwaters, are partly underlain by permafrost, and include remote and incompletely understood forested, wetland, agricultural and tundra ecoregions. This imposes extraordinary challenges to prediction, including the need to overcoming biases in forcing data sets, which can have disproportionate effects on the simulated hydrology.

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

27 Jul 2021Submitted to Hydrological Processes
27 Jul 2021Assigned to Editor
27 Jul 2021Submission Checks Completed
27 Jul 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned