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MESH - A Community Hydrology - Land Surface Model


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General Information

Basin/Domain name

Baker Creek Watershed

Location

near Yellowknife, NWT

Steward

Haley Brauner

Last updated

December 2019

Basin Overview

The Baker Creek watershed is located in the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada, with the outlet defined by the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) hydrometric gauging station 07SB013 - Baker Creek at Outlet of Lower Martin Lake - located approximately 7 km north of the capital city of Yellowknife, NWT. The Baker Creek watershed is a sub-basin of the Great Slave Lake watershed and has a gross drainage area of approximately 155 km2 (Spence et al., 2010). The basin is characterized by a number of large lakes drained by short streams with a highly variable flow regime due to the variability of storage capacity in the basin (Spence, 2006; Phillips, Spence, & Pomeroy, 2011). The basin is in an area of discontinuous permafrost, which also alters the runoff regime depending on the soil conditions (Kokelj, 2003; Guan, Spence, & Westbrook, 2010). The average streamflow at the basin outlet is 0.24 m3 s-1 and annual runoff ratio is 0.17; however, the runoff ratio has been observed to vary by up to three orders of magnitude, as observed by a runoff ratio of 0.005 in 2015 and 0.34 in 2001 (Spence & Hedstrom, 2018; Spence & Woo, 2002).

The Baker Creek watershed is largely undeveloped, and there are a number of research stations in the basin (Spence and Hedstrom, 2018). Research by the University of Saskatchewan and Carleton University has been occurring in the basin since 2004, with some water quality data available from 1995 (Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN), 2019; Spence and Hedstrom, 2018). The basin is comprised of primarily exposed bedrock (39.9%) and water bodies (22.6%), with coniferous forest hillslopes and some deciduous forest comprising just over 21%, and peatlands and wetlands making up the remaining 16% (Spence and Hedstrom, 2018). The bedrock is moderately to highly fractured, and mineral soils (silty and sandy texture) are present in the fissures and valley from bedrock weathering and erosion (Phillips, Spence, & Pomeroy, 2011). Overburden thickness ranges from 1 m to more than 10 m (Spence & Hedstrom, 2018), and peat thickness ranges from a thin layer to about 1.2 m (Guan, Westbrook, & Spence, 2010). The area experiences a subarctic climate with short, cool summers and long, cold winters. The basin receives an average of 289 mm of precipitation annually, approximately 41% as snowfall (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2019b).

Landcover and station locations based on data from Spence and Hedstrom, 2018. Base maps from Natural Resources Canada. 

Hydrological Structures

Outlet locations

Name (ID)Operated ByCoordinatesActivityRecord LengthNotes
07SB013 Baker Creek at Outlet of Lower Martin LakeWater Survey of Canada62.5133, -114.4097Continuous flow and level1983-2019No level measurements prior to 2002
Baker Creek at outlet of Landing LakeResearch62.5499, -114.4005Seasonal2003-2016Spence & Hedstrom, 2018
Baker Creek at Vital NarrowsResearch62.5792, -114.4159Seasonal2005-2016Spence & Hedstrom, 2018
Baker Creek above Vital LakeResearch62.5946, -114.4436Seasonal2008-2016Spence & Hedstrom, 2018
Moss Creek at outlet of Lake 690Research62.6190, -114.4545Seasonal2008-2016Spence & Hedstrom, 2018
Baker Creek at outlet of Duckfish LakeResearch62.6476, -114.4477Seasonal2009-2016Spence & Hedstrom, 2018

Reservoirs or large water bodies

There are no flow control structures in the basin, but there are a number of large lakes that have a significant influence on the flow regime. The largest and most hydrologically-significant of these lakes include: 

Name (ID)Coordinates at the OutletArea
Duckfish Lake

62.6476 -114.4477

6.2 km2
Vital Lake

62.5792, -114.4159

1.5 km2
Landing Lake62.5499, -114.40051.1 km2
Martin Lake62.5133, -114.40973 km2

Source: Spence, 2006

Available Data

The nearest long-term meteorological station is located at the Yellowknife Airport, approximately 7 km southeast of the basin outlet, with hourly data available from 1953 through 2019 (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2019a). There are also two climate research towers located in the basin: Vital Tower and Landing Lake Tower (Spence and Hedstrom, 2018) with data available between 2005-2016. A more detailed summary of the available data is provided below. 

Climate Data:

  • Vital Tower, located within the basin on exposed bedrock (Spence & Hedstrom, 2018)
    • Half-hourly rainfall, air temperature (2 heights), incoming shortwave and longwave radiation, wind speed (2 heights, air pressure, and relative humidity (2 heights))
    • 2005-2016 (except winter)
    • Location: 62.6042, -114.4475
  • Landing Lake tower, located within the basin over water (Landing Lake) (Spence & Hedstrom, 2018)
    • Half-hourly air temperature, incoming shortwave and longwave radiation, wind speed, and vapour pressure
    • 2008-2016 (except winter)
    • Location: 62.5593, -114.4117
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada, Yellowknife A station (Environment and Climate Change Canada, 2019a)
    • Hourly air temperature, wind speed, air pressure, and RH (1953-present)
    • Daily precipitation (rainfall and snowfall), air temperature (min, max, average) (1942-present)
    • Location: 62.46, -114.44
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada's Regional Deterministic Prediction System (RDPS), which is based on the GEM-NWP model (Mailhot et al., 2006).
    • Hourly air temperature, incoming shortwave and longwave radiation, wind speed, air pressure, and specific humidity
    • Location: the model grid containing the Vital Tower
    • 2004 onward used in the project (longer may be available)
  • Precipitation data from the Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) dataset (Fortin et al., 2018)
    • 6-hourly precipitation data
    • Location: the model grid containing the Vital Tower
    • 2002 onward obtained for the project (longer may be available)

Streamflow:

  • WSC gauge 07SB013 Baker Creek at the outlet of Lower Martin Lake (basin outlet) (Water Survey of Canada, 2019)
    • Data available from 1983-2016
  • Data from five hydrometric gauges within the basin is available in Spence & Hedstrom (2018) for varying durations between 2003-2016.

Spatial Data

  • DEM and landcover available in Spence & Hedstrom, 2018

Soil Moisture and Temperature

  • Data from six ground temperature and/or soil moisture stations within the basin is available in Spence & Hedstrom, 2018

Snow Course

  • Spring snow survey data from 2003-2016 (except 2006) is available in Spence & Hedstrom, 2018


Downloaded data from Spence & Hedstrom, 2018, Environment and Climate Change Canada, GEM, and CaPA are stored on Graham at the following path: /home/hbrauner/projects/rpp-hwheater/hbrauner/MESH_Project_Baker_Creek/Data/Raw

Model Configurations

    • Model input files and description hosted on GitHub: https://github.com/MESH-Model/MESH_Project_Baker_Creek
    • Project report - final version pending
    • This configuration provides an example of a lumped MESH configuration, as well as a comparison between the WATROF and PDFROF runoff algorithms.

References

Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN). (2019). 14. Baker Creek, NWT. Retrieved from http://ccrnetwork.ca/science/WECC/sub-arctic-lowlands/baker-creek.php

Environment and Climate Change Canada. (2019). Historical Data. Retrieved from Government of Canada: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/historical_data/search_historic_data_e.html

Environment and Climate Change Canada. (2019b). Yellowknife A, Climate ID 2204100. Retrieved from Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_normals/index_e.html

Guan, X. J., Spence, C., & Westbrook, C. J. (2010). Shallow soil moisture - Ground thaw interactions and controls - Part 2: Influences of water and energy fluxes. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14(7), 1387–1400. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-14-1387-2010

Guan, X. J., Westbrook, C. J., & Spence, C. (2010). Shallow soil moisture - Ground thaw interactions and controls - Part 1: Spatiotemporal patterns and correlations over a subarctic landscape. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14(7), 1375–1386. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-14-1375-2010

Kokelj, S. A. (2003). Hydrologic overview of the North and South Slave regions. Yellowknife, NWT, Canada.

Phillips, R. W., Spence, C., & Pomeroy, J. W. (2011). Connectivity and runoff dynamics in heterogeneous basins. Hydrological Processes, 25(19), 3061–3075. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.8123

Spence, C. (2006). Hydrological processes and streamflow in a lake dominated watercourse. Hydrological Processes, 20, 3665–3681. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp

Spence, C., Guan, X. J., Phillips, R., Hedstrom, N., Granger, R., & Reid, B. (2010). Storage dynamics and streamflow in a catchment with a variable contributing area. Hydrological Processes, 24(16), 2209–2221. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.7492

Spence, Christopher, & Hedstrom, N. (2018). Hydrometeorological data from Baker Creek Research Watershed, Northwest Territories, Canada. Earth System Science Data, 10(4), 1753–1767. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-10-1753-2018

Spence, Christopher, & Woo, M. K. (2002). Hydrology of subarctic Canadian shield: Bedrock upland. Journal of Hydrology, 262(1–4), 111–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-1694(02)00010-0