Cold Regions Hydrology Research Opportunities at CH

There are several research studentships and positions with Professor John Pomeroy, Director of the Global Water Futures Programme (GWF) and of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Sask. & Canmore, Alberta. GWF is the largest freshwater research programme in the world and is transforming our ability to understand and predict cold regions water security. Exceptional students may also be considered for a $45,000/year GWF Excellence Scholarship (see


  • PhD Student – Cryospheric representation in large scale hydrological models
  • PhD Student – Contributing Area and Streamflow Dynamics


  • Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory Research Scientist / Coldwater Laboratory Manager
  • Cold Regions Sensor Design and Construction – PDF or Electrical Engineer or Electronic Technologist

PhD Studentships

PhD Student – Cryospheric representation in large scale hydrological models
The successful candidate for this position will have a MSc in hydrology with experience in hydrological model development, excellent mathematics, computer coding and environmental physics skills and an understanding of cold regions hydrology: glaciers, snow, permafrost, frozen soils. This student will be working within the Integrated Modeling Program for Canada (IMPC) project of Global Water Futures on advancing the representation of glacier and snow dynamics, and heat and mass transfer in frozen ground in large scale hydrological models used in the GWF programme. The student will review, develop, encode and test advanced algorithms describing these processes in Environment Canada’s MESH hydrological model. Test sites in the Canadian Rockies, Prairie and North are available for model validation. This research will help quantify the impact of climate warming on cold regions hydrology with particular reference to quantifying pan‐Canadian changes in water supply and water security.

Co-supervised by Dr. John Pomeroy (Geography & Planning) and Dr. Al Pietroniro (Civil Engineering). Interested applicants should contact Dr. Pomeroy ( with a cover letter explaining their motivation, academic CV, unofficial transcript and contact details for three academic references.

PhD Student – Contributing Area and Streamflow Dynamics
The successful candidate for this position will have a MSc in hydrology with experience in both field work and numerical hydrological modelling and excellent quantitative physical environmental science skills. A background in agricultural hydrology and knowledge of cold regions hydrology is an advantage. The student will be working within the Prairie Water Project of Global Water Futures on investigating the dynamics of Prairie streamflow as it relates to variations in basin contributing area. The student will use a combination of field and modelling studies to evaluate the contributing area-streamflow relationship and determine the influence of geomorphology, climate and wetland distribution. This research will contribute to knowledge that will inform land management decisions as it pertains to sustainable water management and water and nutrient transport to water bodies. The PhD will be expected to collaborate with others to evaluate the influence of best management practices on the health of Prairie water bodies.

Co-supervised by Dr. John Pomeroy and Dr. Chris Spence (Geography & Planning). Interested applicants should contact ( with a cover letter explaining their motivation, academic CV, unofficial transcripts and contact details for three academic references.


Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory Research Scientist / Coldwater Laboratory Manager
A rare opportunity exists for a post-doctoral scientist to be a field-based research scientist working in close collaboration with Professor John Pomeroy in conducting cold regions hydrology studies in the Canadian Rockies Hydrological Observatory, UAV-based hydrology studies with the Smart Water Systems Laboratory, and managing the GWF Coldwater Laboratory in Canmore, Alberta. This is part of the Global Water Futures programme. The successful candidate for this job will have a top-rated PhD and substantial publication record and evidence of leading successful field programmes in mountain snow and cold regions hydrology plus interest in leading a UAV and field station based measurement programme in the Canadian Rockies. Proven capability to conduct research outdoors in extreme conditions, exceptional leadership skills and training in wilderness first aid are essential for this position. Experience piloting UAVs and/or in hydrological modelling is an asset. Employment as a Research Scientist is directed only towards those with a valid Canadian work permit. International candidates may be considered for Post-Doctoral Fellow (PhD within 5 years of appointment) or Visiting Professorship (must take leave from home institution) appointments in support of this function.

Based in the Canadian Rockies town of Canmore, Alberta, your primary duties will be:

  • Advance scientific knowledge of mountain hydrological cycling
  • Conduct research towards a better understanding of mountain hydrology sensitivity to change
  • Contribute towards modelling glacier, alpine and forest hydrology in the Canadian Rockies
  • Conduct UAV-based investigation of mountain surface characteristics.
  • Engage with stakeholders and users of research in the Canadian Rockies
  • Write scientific papers, progress reports, conference presentations
  • Assist in mentoring MSc/PhD students, researchers and technicians at the Coldwater Lab.

Cold Regions Sensor Design and Construction – PDF or Electrical Engineer or Electronic Technologist
The successful candidate for this post will have extensive experience in developing and making circuit boards, assembly and contribution to design of environmental sensors, and deployment and testing of environmental sensors in testing facilities and outdoor environments. This post is in support of the Smart Water Systems Laboratory of the Global Water Futures programme at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. The candidate will work with a research scientist in development, construction and deployment of new snow, streamflow, micrometeorology, gas flux and soil moisture sensors for cold regions. International candidates are welcome to apply at the PDF level (5 years or less since PhD). Others should have a valid Canadian work permit.

Western Economic Diversification provides funding for Smart Water Systems Lab

CH has received $1.37M from Western Economic Diversification (WED) to establish the Smart Water Systems Laboratory (formally the Autonomous and Airborne Cold Regions Innovation Laboratory), which will deliver transformative technological capabilities for water-related observation and data collection.

The funding will be used to purchase a range of advanced equipment (including drones, specialized cameras, a 3D printer and scanning system), and fund the development of new specialized sensors.

More information of the broader award to the U. of S. from W.E.D. is available here.

Tundra Hydrology Research Profiled by CCRN

The research of Sebastian Krogh, a CH student from Chile working towards his PhD under the supervision of Dist. Prof. John Pomeroy, has been profiled in an article released by the Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN).

Sebastian is studying interactions between climate, landscape and hydrology near Inuvik in the Northwest Territories. Using the Cold regions Hydrological Model (CRHM), he has reconstructed flows over the past 56 years in order to improve understanding of the processes associated with warming air temperatures and increasing vegetation on the tundra.

The article is available here.

25 years of Research at Wolf Creek Celebrated by CBC

The Wolf Creek research watershed near Whitehorse (YT), which has repeatedly been a prime focus for work by CH scientists and their affiliates, has recently completed its 25th year of operation. To mark the occasion, a group of researchers gathered at the watershed, and the meeting was covered by the CBC.

The watershed continues to provide an invaluable resource for studying hydrological processes in upland northern landscapes, and shifting influences under changing climatic conditions.

The CBC report is available here, and also within the Northbeat video of 2 October 2017 (at 20:23 minutes).

U of S hydrologist Howard Wheater to advise on US national water future

Renowned University of Saskatchewan hydrologist Howard Wheater, who co-leads the world’s largest university-based water research initiative—Global Water Futures (GWF), has been appointed to a distinguished U.S. National Academies panel looking into the future of water resources in the United States.

The panel of leading water science experts is charged with identifying America’s highest-priority water science and resource challenges over the next 25 years, and making recommendations on the strategic water science and research opportunities to address those challenges. It will report its finding in 2018.

“The loss of life and $180-billion damage from Hurricane Harvey is a wake-up call to the U.S. for the need to better manage water-related threats, including risks from climate change, and the hurricane’s effect on rising gas prices in Canada shows the far-reaching impacts of extreme events on the global economy,” said Wheater, who attended the panel’s first meeting in Washington this week.

“The work of this U.S. panel reinforces the importance of the work we are doing with our U of S Global Institute for Water Security to address Canada’s challenges of coping with a rapidly warming climate and its impacts on our water environment.”

Wheater lends his expertise to several other international water-related issues. He serves as an independent international expert supporting the Republic of Chile in a dispute with Bolivia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands.  He is also working with the State of Nevada in a dispute with the U.S. Department of Energy over the proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste repository. He also gives keynote addresses to national and international water science meetings.

To devote more time to international work, Wheater is stepping down from the GWF directorship on September 30th.  He will take a one-year administrative leave next year, but will continue to provide strategic support to John Pomeroy who has served as GWF co-director over the past year. Wheater will also continue to provide support and advice to the GWF core team responsible for hydrological modelling and co-supervise graduate students. He will stay on as director of the Global Institute for Water Security, which he founded in 2010, until next March 31st.

“The $143-million Global Water Futures project is now well launched and is gathering momentum with the support of our three key university partners and scores of other partners across Canada and around the globe,” said Karen Chad, U of S vice-president of research.

“Howard Wheater has made an outstanding contribution over the past seven years, and I know that this nationally important Canada First Research Excellence Fund initiative is now going to be in very capable hands under the stellar leadership of Canada Research Chair John Pomeroy.”

Wheater noted that a number of major projects that he has been leading at the U of S are drawing to a close. The research program of the seven-year Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Water Security concludes this month. Federal funding for Changing Cold Regions Network concludes in March of 2018.

Through the CERC research program, U of S researchers have developed new in-depth knowledge of water issues in the enormous Saskatchewan River Basin and the Mackenzie River Basin, ranging from drought and flooding, to competing societal water uses, to water quality issues. They have used new experimental modelling and remote sensing approaches to understand, diagnose and predict changing land, water and climate in these major river basins.

“Due to our CERC, the U of S has become one of the world-leading research-intensive institutions in the area of water security,” Wheater said.

One of the CERC accomplishments of which he is most proud has been the training of almost 800 graduate students, more than 140 post-doctoral fellows, and more than 250 research scientists, technicians and assistants.

Wheater, who is a Distinguished Research Fellow and Emeritus Professor in Hydrology at London’s Imperial College, served as chair of the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Sustainable Management of Water in the Agricultural Landscapes of Canada which reported in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the American Geophysical Union and winner of the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water.

For more information about the U of S-based Global Water Futures initiative, visit:

GIWS Announces GWF PhD Excellence Scholarships

As part of the Global Water Futures (GWF) program, the Global Institute for Water Security (GIWS) has recently established the GWF PhD Excellence Scholarships, each valued at $45k per year for 3 years. At least 10 scholarships are available, and hydrology is one of the eligible subjects.

These are entrance scholarships offered to students who have outstanding academic records, show research promise, have exceptional communication, interpersonal and leadership abilities, and are registering for the first time in a PhD program at the University of Saskatchewan. More details are provided on this PDF and the award web-page.

The proposed PhD research program should be in alignment with at least one of the GIWS themes and GWF research areas, under the supervision of a GIWS faculty member. Most faculty from the Centre for Hydrology are eligible members of GIWS and PhD students wishing to study hydrology are strongly encouraged to apply and to contact a potential supervisor from this list posted here.

If you have questions regarding potential topics of study in hydrology please contact Joni Onclin at

Whitfield Gives Plenary Talk on Model Assessment Methodology

On Monday 10 July 2017, Paul Whitfield, Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Hydrology and Scientist Emeritus with Environment and Climate Change Canada, gave an invited Plenary talk titled Assessing hydrological and climatological models against observations at the Banff International Research Station workshop, Challenges in the Statistical Modelling of Stochastic Processes for the Natural Sciences.

The workshop, which was attended by forty eminent statisticians from across Europe and North America, focused on statistical models for natural science phenomena. It is now recognized that stochastic models whose behaviour more closely mirrors the scientific structure of the system under study provide a more interpretable framework for analyzing data.

Whitfield’s talk, which provides a thought-provoking discussion of how we might better assess how well our models can reproduce natural phenomena in hydrology and climatology, may be viewed online here.


John Pomeroy awarded Distinguished Professor status by U of S

Professor John Pomeroy, Director of the Centre for Hydrology and Associate Director of the Global Water Futures initiative, has been elevated to the rank of ‘Distinguished Professor’ by the University of Saskatchewan.

The title “honours and celebrates exceptional achievement in research, scholarly, or artistic work by University of Saskatchewan faculty or emeriti. This honorary title is a lifetime award that becomes Distinguished Professor Emeritus upon retirement”.

The awarding committee was impressed by Professor Pomeroy’s many research accomplishments and outstanding contributions to the university, and particularly by his work in the hydrology and global water policies, which they said has been “indicative of his visionary approach”, earning him a strong reputation in this branch of science.