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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-29
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-29
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: data description paper 31 Mar 2020

Submitted as: data description paper | 31 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

A Canadian River Ice Database from National Hydrometric Program Archives

Laurent de Rham1, Yonas Dibike1, Spyros Beltaos2, Daniel Peters1, Barrie Bonsal3, and Terry Prowse1 Laurent de Rham et al.
  • 1Environment and Climate Change Canada, Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, 3800 Finnerty Rd., Victoria, BC V8P 5C2, Canada
  • 2Environment and Climate Change Canada, Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, 867 Lakeshore Rd., Burlington, ON, L7S 1A1, Canada
  • 3Environment and Climate Change Canada, Watershed Hydrology and Ecology Research Division, 11 Innovation Blvd., Saskatoon, SK, S7N 3H5, Canada

Abstract. River ice is a common occurrence in cold climate hydrological systems. The annual cycle of river ice formation, growth, decay and clearance can include low flows and ice jams, as well as mid-winter and spring break-up events. Reports and associated data on river ice occurrence are often limited to site and season-specific studies. Within Canada, the National Hydrometric Program (NHP) operates a network of gauging stations with water level as the primary measured variable to derive discharge. In the late 1990s, the Water Science and Technology Directorate of Environment and Climate Change Canada initiated a long-term effort to compile, archive and extract river ice related information from NHP hydrometric records. This data article describes the original research data set produced by this near 20-year effort: the Canadian River Ice Database (CRID). The CRID holds almost 73,000 variables from a network of 196 NHP stations throughout Canada that were in operation within the period 1894 to 2015. Over 100,000 paper and digital files were reviewed representing 10,378 station-years of active operation. The task of compiling this database involved manual extraction and input of more than 460,000 data entries on water level, discharge, date, time and data quality rating. Guidelines on the data extraction, rating procedure and challenges are provided. At each location, a time series of up to 15 variables specific to the occurrence of freeze-up and winter-low events, mid-winter break-up, ice thickness, spring break-up and maximum open-water level were compiled. This database follows up on several earlier efforts to compile information on river ice, which are summarized herein, and expands the scope and detail for use in Canadian river ice research and applications. Following the Government of Canada Open Data initiative, this original river ice data set is available at: https://doi.org/10.18164/c21e1852-ba8e-44af-bc13-48eeedfcf2f4 (de Rham et al., 2020).

Laurent de Rham et al.

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Canadian River Ice Database L. de Rham, Y. Dibike, S. Beltaos, D. Peters, B. Bonsal, and T. Prowse https://doi.org/10.18164/c21e1852-ba8e-44af-bc13-48eeedfcf2f4

Laurent de Rham et al.

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Short summary
This paper describes the Canadian River Ice Database. Water level recordings at a network of 196 National Hydrometric Program gauging sites over the period 1894–2015 were reviewed. This database, of near 73,000 variables and over 460,000 data entries, holds the timing and magnitude of fall freeze-up, mid-winter break-up, winter minimum, ice thickness, spring break-up and maximum open-water level. These data cover the range of river types and climate regions for Canada.
This paper describes the Canadian River Ice Database. Water level recordings at a network of 196...
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