9:00 am - 10:00 am
Event details: A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES PhD Final Exam Seminar by Christopher Williams. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.
Location: University of Alberta, SAB 1-50
Thesis Topic: Wildfire effects on net precipitation, streamflow regime and rainfall-runoff events in northern Rocky Mountain watersheds
Wildfire in forested watersheds can affect hydrological processes and potentially cause dramatically increased runoff. However, few post-wildfire studies have been done in high water-yielding, snow-dominated northern Rocky Mountain environments. This study was initiated following the 2003 Lost Creek wildfire in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada. Net precipitation (rain and snow) was more than 50% greater in burned than in unburned reference subalpine forest stands. The post-wildfire streamflow regime (2005-2014) in three burned and two unburned (reference) watersheds suggested advanced timing of snowmelt and much greater (40-200%)April/May water yields in burned watersheds. However, runoff from individual summer storm events in burned watersheds appeared to be minimally impacted. Results suggest, while net precipitation is much greater in burned forests, most of the wildfire effect on runoff occurs during snowmelt in Canadian Rocky Mountain environments. This contrasts with studies from other regions that have found much greater runoff response from rain storms.