William Quinton

Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Hydrology and Water Resources

Tier 2 - 2005-08-01
Renewed: 2010-08-01
Wilfrid Laurier University
Natural Sciences and Engineering

519-884-0710 ext./poste 3281

Research involves

Using field, laboratory, and modelling research to increase our ability to predict the cycling and storage of freshwater in headwater basins of the boreal and adjacent cold regions.

Research relevance

The research is increasing our ability to estimate the volume and timing of freshwater drainage from cold regions headwater basins, in particular in boreal and adjacent taiga and tundra zones.

Ensuring Our Future Water Supply: Cold Regions Headwater Drainage and Water Supply

Canada is very fortunate; we still have lots of water. In fact, we have one of the most abundant freshwater resources in the world.

The majority of Canada's fresh surface water resides within the boreal forest. These forests account for over half of our land surface and cover a substantial portion of most of our provinces and territories. About one-third of the world's boreal forest lies in this country, and a substantial proportion of the world's unfrozen fresh water supply is found here as well, in our boreal forests.

Despite our good fortune, however, there are now serious and urgent concerns about our water, in particular about the future availability of northern surface freshwater, Canada's largest freshwater reserve.

Over recent decades, most of climate warming has taken place in boreal and adjacent northern regions, where the presence of snow and ice above and below the ground is of profound importance with regard to the cycling and storage of water and energy. This, coupled with our poor understanding of how climate warming is affecting the overall cycling and storage of surface water in cold regions, is creating uncertainty regarding the availability of water in Canada's North.

Dr. William Quinton wants to improve our ability to estimate drainage from cold regions headwater drainage basins by developing a comprehensive scientific understanding of the water cycling and storage processes in these basins. In the process, he hopes to develop valuable science-based, quantitative tools to predict fresh water flows and storage levels.

His research focuses on linking hill slope and basin-scale drainage processes and water and energy flow processes in discontinuous permafrost wetlands. In addition, he studies the hydrochemistry and water quality of boreal headwaters and is developing hydrological models as well as new analytical techniques for organic soils.