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The Changing Hydrology of Lhù’ààn Mǟn - Kluane Lake - under Past and Future Climates and Glacial Retreat




Loukili, Youssef
Pomeroy, John W.

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Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan



Technical Report

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The goal of this report is to estimate the variability and changes in the lake levels of Kluane Lake over the historical period and into the future climates of the 21st C, with and without the Kaskawulsh Glacier contribution. The study diagnoses the causes of variability of lake levels in the past and evaluates the impact of deglaciation on lake levels in the future in the context of climate change. The methods use a combination of weather data from observations and global climate models to drive a detailed glacio-hydrological prediction model, which calculates streamflows in the Slims River and other inflows to Kluane Lake, lake evaporation and outflows and then the lake level. Historical Kluane Lake levels during the 20th C and future lake levels under global warming projections for the rest of the 21st C were predicted - with and without the Kaskawulsh Glacier contribution to the Slims River. The Canadian glacio-hydrological water prediction model MESH, which couples the Canadian Land Surface Scheme with both surface and subsurface runoff on slopes and river routing, was used to model the hydrology of the Kluane Lake Basin for these predictions. The adjacent gauged Duke River Basin was also included in the model to provide opportunities to evaluate the model performance in this region against gauged streamflows. Model parameterisations of topography, land cover, glacier cover, soil type and runoff directions were made and used to set up the model on various sub-basins flowing into Kluane Lake, including the Slims River Basin. The results drawn from this study are intended to answer important questions posed by Kluane First Nation of Burwash Landing, residents of Destruction Bay and surrounding areas and Yukon Government on the history and the future of Kluane Lake levels. Furthermore, the study will help inform water management and infrastructure design around Kluane Lake, and other environmental and aquatic conservation and adaptation efforts in the region. While the models employed here represent the “state-of-the-art”, there is uncertainty in the predictions. This uncertainty could be reduced in future prediction efforts by resuming Kluane River discharge measurements, which were discontinued in 1994.



Slims River (Ä’äy Chù), Kaskawulsh Glacier, Yukon Territory, glacier hydrology, Kluane Lake (Lhù’ààn Mǟn), Water levels








Part Of

Centre for Hydrology Report #15