State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2007WY37B
Title: Tracing Glacial Ice and Snow Meltwater with Isotopes
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2007
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 1
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Climatological Processes, Radioactive Substances
Keywords: Snowmelt, Groundwater, Rainfall, Streamflow, Hyrograph separation, Oxygen-18, Deuterium, Tritium
Principal Investigator: Williams, David
Federal Funds: $ 0
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 61,171
Abstract: There is still considerable uncertainty about how changes in snowpack, loss of alpine glaciers and forest disturbances such as fire or insect outbreaks are likely to translate into changes in stream and river discharge. Efforts to predict how streamflow is likely to change in response to these factors hinges on our ability to reduce the level of uncertainty in hydrological models in snowmelt-dominated catchments. This proposal explores the use of isotopic tracers as a means to identify the contribution of glacial melt, snowmelt and baseflow to stream discharge. The work will complement efforts currently underway in the Wind River range in the glacially fed Dinwwody Creek catchment. The principal scientific objective of this proposed work is to evaluate several isotopic tracers for their ability to distinguish sources of stream discharge in a snow/glacier fed watershed. One graduate student will be trained on this project and results will demonstrate to stakeholders how isotope tracers and the newly upgraded Stable Isotope Facility at the University of Wyoming can provide key information on processes affecting streamflow in the state.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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