Environmental Modelling & Analysis Group

    Research Areas

Reactive Contaminant Fate and Transport

  Profs. Thomson, Craig, and Sykes use models and uncertainty analysis to predict and understand the behaviour of reactive contaminants in the subsurface. These complex reactive transport models can be used to design subsurface remediation measures, understand the pathways of nutrient transfer from field to river, and estimate the impact of biodegradation on aquifer contamination.

Distributed Surface Water Modelling

  Profs. Soulis, Burn, Tolson, and Craig attempt to simulate and understand the complex hydrological processes that control the exchange of water between land and atmosphere, vegetation and soil. Both numerical and statistical surface water models may be used  to assess the impacts of flooding, investigate the nature of climate change, and to improve weather forecasting.

Climate Change Prediction

  Profs. Burn and Sykes examine the potential impacts of climate change on groundwater and surface water resources in Canada using sophisticated physical and statistical models. Part of this investigation includes looking back in time to what happened thousands of years ago as an indicator of what is to come.

Calibration and Parameter Estimation
  Profs. Tolson and Sykes investigate the effectiveness of methods for estimating unknown parameters in environmental models, a key component of their success in prediction.  Prof. Tolson and his students focus on the development of new heuristic optimization and sensitivity analysis approaches. These methods collectively improve the science of simulation modelling as a whole, and can lead to better, more informed decisions by water resources policymakers.

Regional Groundwater Flow and Transport Modelling
  Profs. Craig, Thomson, and Sykes are actively investigating the behavior of regional scale aquifer systems at long time scales. Prof. Craig and students have been developing new semi-analytical methods for simulating complex multi-layer aquifer systems. Prof. Sykes and Thomson have focused on application of regional flow models for investigation of nuclear waste disposal, climate change, glacial history, and agricultural impact on water resources. These models are necessary in a world where hydrologic connections can travel a great distance, and policy must be executed taking all scales -local and regional- into effect.

Sediment Transport and River Mechanics
  Prof. Annable's research interests include the modelling of sediment transport and the hydrodynamics of pre- and post-rehabilitated rivers. A better understanding of sediment transport leads to better measures for river rehabilitation, ensuring that riverine ecosystems can survive despite human impacts on the landscape.