Nathan Young
Postdoctoral fellow
Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Laval University

Supervised by:

Jean-Michel Lemieux (Regular member)

Co-supervised by:

René Therrien (Collaborating member)

Research project description

Integrated modeling of the terrestrial water cycle in degrading permafrost environments

Introduction: Climate change is causing temperatures in arctic and sub-arctic regions to rise faster than global average. In the North, this temperature increase is altering the water cycle in ways that are currently not well understood. Previous work in northern Canada suggests that rising temperatures can cause a shift from surface-water-dominated systems to groundwater-dominated systems at the catchment scale (e.g., Lamontagne-Hallé 2018). Understanding how rising temperatures will reshape the water cycle in the North has become increasingly important, as many communities in Nunavik rely on surface water for drinking water supplies. Objectives: The objectives of this research project are: To better understand and characterize how the shift from surface water-dominated to groundwater-dominated systems fits into the broader reorganization of the water cycle in the North. To investigate the sources and dynamics of groundwater recharge in discontinuous permafrost environments. To evaluate and forecast the performance of the Tasiapik Valley aquifer system for water resources development in a changing climate. Study sites: This project seeks to study the dynamics of the water cycle within the Tasiapik Valley near the village of Umiujaq, in Nunavik, Canada, using the coupled surface water-groundwater model HydroGeoSphere. We chose this location because it is well documented, and already contains an extensive network of surface and subsurface monitoring instrumentation for which seven years of hydro-meteorological data are already available. Previous characterization of the Tasiapik Valley identified the presence of degrading discontinuous permafrost and complex groundwater-surface water interaction. While this site has shown potential for future groundwater resources development, it is currently unknown whether it is possible to sustainably pump water from this location. Material and methods: This project will utilize the coupled surface water-groundwater model HydroGeoSphere (HGS) to simulate surface and subsurface flow processes, as well as precipitation, snowpack, and heat flow. Permafrost dynamics will be simulated with the new permafrost module for HGS. This module will allow us to account for seasonal changes in the active layer of the discontinuous permafrost in the Tasiapik Valley, as well as changes in the extent of the permafrost that occur as a result of long-term climate warming.References: Lamontagne-Hallé P, McKenzie JM, Kurylyk B, Zipper SC (2018). Changing groundwater discharge dynamics in permafrost regions. Environmental Research Letters.

Research Site Coordinates

Scientific Communications

Fortier, P., Young, N., Lemieux, J.-M., Walvoord, M., Fortier, R., 2023. Long-term, high-resolution permafrost monitoring reveals coupled energy balance and hydrogeologic controls on talik dynamics near Umiujaq (Nunavik, Québec, Canada). <strong>Water Resources Research</strong>(59). DOI: <a href=" 10.1029/2022WR032456" target="_blank">https:// 10.1029/2022WR032456</a>.

Coulon, C., Lemieux, J.-M., Pryet, A., Bayer, P., Young, N., Molson, J., 2022. Pumping Optimization Under Uncertainty in an Island Freshwater Lens Using a Sharp‐Interface Seawater Intrusion Model. <strong>Water Resources Research</strong>, 58(8). DOI: <a href="" target="_blank">10.1029/2021WR031793</a>.

Young, N., Lemieux, J.-M., Locat, P., Demers, D., Delottier, H., Mony, L., 2022. Bias in hydraulic head measurements from multilevel vibrating-wire piezometers with excessively permeable backfill. <strong>Hydrogeology Journal</strong>(published online 2022-04-22). DOI: <a href="" target="_blank">10.1007/s10040-022-02480-x</a>.

Germain, A., Young, N., Lemieux, J.-M., Locat, A., Delottier, H., Fortier, P., Leroueil, S., Locat, P., Demers, D., Locat, J., Cloutier, C., 2021. Hydrogeology of a complex Champlain Sea deposit (Quebec, Canada): Implications for slope stability. <strong>Canadian Geotechnical Journal</strong>, 58(11): 1611-1626. DOI: <a href="" target="_blank">10.1139/cgj-2020-0500</a>.

Young, N., Lemieux, J.-M., Delottier, H., Fortier, R., Fortier, P., 2020. A conceptual model for anticipating the impact of landscape evolution on groundwater recharge in degrading permafrost environments. <strong>Geophysical Research Letters</strong>, 47(11), e2020GL087695. DOI: <a href="" target="_blank">10.1029/2020GL087695</a>.

© 2024 Centre for northern studies - All rights reserved