EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Advancing snow modelling across Canada from the Arctic to southern regions

Agnes Richards1, Felix Ouellet1, Erika Boisvert-Vigneault2, and Alexandre Langlois2
Agnes Richards et al.
  • 1Government of Canada , Environment and Climate Change Canada , Burlington, Canada (
  • 2Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, Canada

The climate is changing rapidly in the Canadian Arctic and in southern regions in Canada such as the Great Lakes. We adapted the SNOWPACK model from traditional avalanche applications for the Canadian Artic and for two southern regions with moderate (Bay of Quinte, Ontario) to low snowfall (Wigle Creek, Ontario). We developed innovative tools to process large meteorological forcing data and to spatialize output. We also developed a downscaling tool (Outil de Spatialisation de SNOWPACK pour l’Arctique - OSSA) using changes in slope, which refined the spatial resolution of simulations by 45-fold. Our simulations in the Arctic demonstrated that icing events tripled across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago between 1979-2011.  SNOWPACK simulations (1970s to 2020) for the Bay of Quinte focused on changes in snow parameters such as Snow Water Equivalent (SWE), which drives snow melt and flooding. Other parameters such as snow density will also be discussed. Simulations show a substantial change in SWE, especially after 2000. In the region with low snowfall (Wigle Creek), simulations of snow on and off will be presented.

We will also illustrate how we advanced SNOWPACK model validation standards though a multi-pronged approach: 1) remote sensing data to validate snow spatial extent, 2) field measurements with sensors to quantify soil temperature feedback, 3) traditional snow pits to validate SWE, and 4) drones to measure snow height and SWE. Finally, we show that validation standards should be adapted to each region based on snowfall and snowmelt. 

How to cite: Richards, A., Ouellet, F., Boisvert-Vigneault, E., and Langlois, A.: Advancing snow modelling across Canada from the Arctic to southern regions, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10566,, 2023.