12. Havikpak Creek, NWT

Meteorological tower at Havikapk Creek (photo: Philip Marsh)

Location and Physical Characteristics

  • Havikpak Creek (68°20'N, 133°30'W) is located a few kilometers north of the airport at Inuvik, NWT;
  • The drainage basin is roughly 17 km2 in area;
  • Surface cover is predominantly northern boreal forest, and the basin is within the continuous permafrost zone (with typically >20% ice content);
  • Climate is characterized by short summers and long cold winters, with an 8-month snow-cover period.  Mean annual air temperature is about -10 °C and annual precipitation is about 266 mm (66% of which is snow). 


  • Havikpak Creek has been a focus of hydrological research, where the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), Environment Canada, has operated a meteorological station since 1992;
  • The Water Survey of Canada (WSC) has operated a gauge and collected discharge measurements since 1994.

Current Science Focus and Instrumentation

  • Current scientific focus on the integrated effects of vegetation, snow, energy balance, active layer depth, thermokarst, soil water storage, and runoff; 
  • End of winter snow surveys are conducted each spring in mid- to late-April;
  • There is a single 15 m meteorological tower within a forested site in the basin measuring: soil temperature, soil moisture, air temperature and relative humidity, wind speed and direction, incoming and outgoing shortwave and longwave radiation, and liquid precipitation;
  • Cosmic ray observation of soil moisture and snow water equivalent (SWE) at main met station;
  • A Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) upper air station is located within the Havikpak Creek basin, and routine meteorological measurements by the MSC are available at the Inuvik airport.

Other Resources and Further Information

For further information contact:

Philip Marsh, Ph.D.
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Water Science
Dept. of Geography
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Ave West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5