Barret L. Kurylyk


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Invited perspective: What lies beneath a changing Arctic?
Jeffrey M. McKenzie, Barret L. Kurylyk, M. A. Walvoord, Victor Bense, Daniel Fortier, Christopher Spence, Christophe Grenier
The Cryosphere, Volume 15, Issue 1

Abstract. As permafrost thaws in the Arctic, new subsurface pathways open for the transport of groundwater, energy, and solutes. We identify different ways that these subsurface changes are driving observed surface consequences, including the potential for increased contaminant transport, modification to water resources, and enhanced rates of infrastructure (e.g. buildings and roads) damage. Further, as permafrost thaws it allows groundwater to transport carbon, nutrients, and other dissolved constituents from terrestrial to aquatic environments via progressively deeper subsurface flow paths. Cryohydrogeology, the study of groundwater in cold regions, should be included in northern research initiatives to account for this hidden catalyst of environmental and societal change.


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Characterization of contrasting flow and thermal regimes in two adjacent subarctic alpine headwaters in Northwest Canada
Luca Fabris, Ryan L. Rolick, Barret L. Kurylyk, Sean K. Carey
Hydrological Processes, Volume 34, Issue 15

Alpine headwaters in subarctic regions are particularly sensitive to climate change, yet there is little information on stream thermal regimes in these areas and how they might respond to global warming. In this paper, we characterize and compare the hydrological and thermal regimes of two subarctic headwater alpine streams within an empirical framework. The streams investigated are located within two adjacent catchments with similar geology, size, elevation and landscape, Granger Creek (GC) and Buckbrush Creek (BB), which are part of the Wolf Creek Research Basin in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Hydrometeorological and high‐resolution stream temperature data were collected throughout summer 2016. Both sites exhibited a flow regime typical of cold alpine headwater catchments influenced by frozen ground and permafrost. Comparatively, GC was characterized by a flashier response with more extreme flows, than BB. In both sites, stream temperature was highly variable and very responsive to short‐term changes in climatic conditions. On average, stream temperature in BB was slightly higher than in GC (respectively 5.8 and 5.7°C), but less variable (average difference between 75th and 25th quantiles of 1.6 and 2.0°C). Regression analysis between mean daily air and stream temperature suggested that a greater relative (to stream flow) groundwater contribution in BB could more effectively buffer atmospheric fluctuations. Heat fluxes were derived and utilized to assess their relative contribution to the energy balance. Overall, non‐advective fluxes followed a daily pattern highly correlated to short‐wave radiation. G1enerally, solar radiation and latent heat were respectively the most important heat source and sink, while air–water interface processes were major factors driving nighttime stream temperature fluctuations.


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Snowmelt Infiltration and Macropore Flow in Frozen Soils: Overview, Knowledge Gaps, and a Conceptual Framework
Aaron A. Mohammed, Barret L. Kurylyk, Edwin E. Cey, Masaki Hayashi
Vadose Zone Journal, Volume 17, Issue 1

Review highlights the hydrological importance of macropore flow in frozen soils. Governing flow mechanisms and infiltration and refreezing dynamics are discussed. Research is needed to integrate macropore flow and soil freeze–thaw theory. Dual‐domain models of macropore flow should be adapted to frozen ground. A conceptual framework for modeling frozen macroporous soils is proposed.


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Influence of a rock glacier spring on the stream energy budget and cold-water refuge in an alpine stream
Jordan S. Harrington, Masaki Hayashi, Barret L. Kurylyk
Hydrological Processes, Volume 31, Issue 26

The thermal regimes of alpine streams remain understudied and have important implications for cold-water fish habitat which is expected to decline due to climatic warming. Previous research has focused on the effects of distributed energy fluxes and meltwater from snowpacks and glaciers on the temperature of mountain streams. This study presents the effects of the groundwater spring discharge from an inactive rock glacier containing little ground ice on the temperature of an alpine stream. Rock glaciers are coarse blocky landforms that are ubiquitous in alpine environments and typically exhibit low groundwater discharge temperatures and resilience to climatic warming. Water temperature data indicate that the rock glacier spring cools the stream by an average of 3°C during July and August and reduces maximum daily temperatures by an average of 5°C during the peak temperature period of the first two weeks in August, producing a cold-water refuge downstream of the spring. The distributed stream surface and streambed energy fluxes are calculated for the reach along the toe of the rock glacier, and solar radiation dominates the distributed stream energy budget. The lateral advective heat flux generated by the rock glacier spring is compared to the distributed energy fluxes over the study reach, and the spring advective heat flux is the dominant control on stream temperature at the reach scale. This study highlights the potential for coarse blocky landforms to generate climatically-resilient cold-water refuges in alpine streams.