Ryan Connon

    Ryan Connon

    PhD student, Cold Regions Research Centre, Wilfrid Laurier University (Supervisor: William Quinton)

    Thesis Topic: Changing runoff pathways due to permafrost thaw in discontinuous permafrost terrains

    Our research examines how permafrost thaw is changing the mechanisms responsible for delivering runoff to the stream network. In short, we are finding that the runoff contributing portion of the landscape is becoming more integrated in response to permafrost thaw. We work in the Scotty Creek Research basin in southwestern NWT. This basin is wetland dominated and on the southern fringe of the zone of discontinuous permafrost. Wetlands are devoid of permafrost and interspersed in large peat plateau complexes. The peat plateaus are underlain by permafrost and as such impede and re-direct surface and subsurface waters. As permafrost thaws, wetlands grow (at the expense of plateaus), become more connected, and increase the runoff contributing area of the basin. As a result, streamflow has significantly increased over the past 20 years.


    Awards and Scholarships

    • NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (Doctoral), 2015-2017
    • W. Garfield Weston Award for Northern Research (Doctoral), 2014-2016
    • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2014-2015 
    • Don Gray Award (best student paper in hydrology, CGU annual general meeting), 2016
    • CGU-HS Eastern Division Annual Meeting Best Student Oral Presentation in Hydrology, 2016