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Climatic influences on streamflow and sediment flux into Lake C2, northern Ellesmere

By Douglas R. Hardy

Abstract

Streamflow, suspended sediment transport and meteorological variables at two elevations were measured through the 1990-1992 field seasons at Lake C2, northern Ellesmere Island, as part of the Taconite Inlet Lakes Project. The objectives were to determine the extent to which suspended sediment flux responded to climatic variability, and to ascertain which meteorological variable was most strongly associated with daily discharge and sediment load. This study provided a partial test of our hypothesis that the annually-laminated sediments of Lake C2 contain a paleoclimate signal. Streamflow to the lake was almost exclusively the result of snowmelt, in response to inputs of atmospheric energy as measured by air temperature at the median watershed elevation (520 m). Sea-level air temperature, global solar and net all-wave irradiance were less clearly associated with discharge. Fluctuations of discharge and suspended sediment concentration were nearly synchronous, and non-linearly related. Daily sediment discharge was therefore linked by streamflow, with a time lag, to the energy available for snowrnelt. Mean daily air temperature and cumulative degree-days above 0 ~ at 520 m elevation, were successfully used to predict the daily and seasonal discharge of runoff and sediment to the lake

Year: 1996
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