Parameter Sensitivity of a Surface Water Quality Model of the Lower South Saskatchewan River—Comparison Between Ice-On and Ice-Off Periods

Nasim Hosseini*, Kwok Pan CHUN, Howard Wheater, Karl Erich Lindenschmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Little is known about seasonal differences (ice-on vs. ice-off periods) and the sensitivity of in-stream processes to surface water quality constituents in rivers that have a persistent ice cover in winter. The goal of this study is to investigate the sensitivity of nutrient transformation processes on surface water quality, especially rivers in cold regions where ice-covered conditions persist for a substantial part of the year. We established a sensitivity analysis framework for water quality modelling and monitoring of rivers in cold regions using the Water Quality Analysis Program WASP7. The lower South Saskatchewan River in the interior of western Canada, from the Gardiner Dam at Lake Diefenbaker to the confluence of the North and South Saskatchewan rivers, is used as a test case for this purpose. The study reveals that parameter sensitivities differ between ice-covered and ice-free periods and biological model parameters related to nutrient-phytoplankton dynamics can still be sensitive during the ice-covered season. For example, sediment oxygen demand is an important parameter during the ice-on period, whereas parameters related to nitrification are more sensitive in the ice-off period. These results provide insight into important water quality monitoring aspects in cold regions during different seasons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Modeling and Assessment
Volume22
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cold regions
  • Local sensitivity analysis
  • WASP7
  • Water quality modelling

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