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Warming soil temperature and increasing baseflow in response to recent and potential future climate change across northern Manitoba, Canada
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  • Rajtantra Lilhare,
  • Stephen Dery,
  • Tricia Stadnyk,
  • Scott Pokorny,
  • Kristina Koenig
Rajtantra Lilhare
University of Northern British Columbia

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Stephen Dery
University of Northern British Columbia
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Tricia Stadnyk
University of Calgary
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Scott Pokorny
University of Manitoba
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Kristina Koenig
Manitoba Hydro
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This study investigates the impacts of climate change on the hydrology and soil thermal regime of ten sub-arctic watersheds (northern Manitoba, Canada) using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model. We utilize statistically downscaled and bias-corrected forcing datasets based on 17 general circulation model (GCM) - representative concentration pathways (RCP) scenarios from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) to run the VIC model for three 30-year periods: a historical baseline (1981–2010), and future projections (2021–2050: 2030s and 2041–2070: 2050s), under representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 4.5 and 8.5. The CMIP5 Multi-Model Ensemble (MME) mean-based VIC simulations indicate a 15–20% increase and 10% decrease in the projected annual precipitation and snowfall, respectively over the southern portion of the basin and >20% rainfall increase over the higher latitudes of the domain by the 2050s. Snow accumulation is projected to decline across all sub-basins, particularly in the lower latitudes. Projected uncertainties in major water balance components (i.e., evapotranspiration, surface runoff, and streamflow) are more substantial in the wetland and lake-dominated Grass and Gunisao watersheds than their eight counterparts. Future warming increases soil temperatures >2.5°C by the 2050s, resulting in 40–50% more baseflow. Further analyses of soil temperature trends at three different depths show the most pronounced warming in the top soil layer (1.6°C 30-year-1 in the 2050s), whereas baseflow increases substantially by 19.7% and 46.3% during the 2030s and 2050s, respectively. These results provide crucial information on the potential future impacts of warming soil temperatures on the hydrology of sub-arctic watersheds in north-central Canada and similar hydro-climatic regimes.
01 Nov 2021Submitted to Hydrological Processes
02 Nov 2021Submission Checks Completed
02 Nov 2021Assigned to Editor
05 Nov 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
19 Jan 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
25 Jan 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Major
15 Jun 20221st Revision Received
26 Jun 2022Submission Checks Completed
26 Jun 2022Assigned to Editor
26 Jun 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Sep 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
24 Oct 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Nov 2022Published in Hydrological Processes volume 36 issue 11. 10.1002/hyp.14748