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Bayi Glacier in Qilian Mountain, China (Credit: Xiaoming Wang, distributed via

Job advertisement PhD position in cold regions hydrology

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European Geosciences Union

PhD position in cold regions hydrology

PhD position in cold regions hydrology

Laval University - Department of Civil and Water Engineering logo

Laval University - Department of Civil and Water Engineering

Université Laval (UL) is the oldest French-speaking university in North America. It is home to some 48,000 students in 17 faculties, 60 departments and schools, and nearly 400 undergraduate and graduate programs in all fields of knowledge. Université Laval offers strong graduate programs in northern research. Graduate studies at Université Laval can of course be conducted in English.


Quebec City, Canada


Relevant divisions
Atmospheric Sciences (AS)
Cryospheric Sciences (CR)
Hydrological Sciences (HS)

Full time

Student / Graduate / Internship

To be discussed

Preferred education

Application deadline
Open until the position is filled

7 May 2024

Job description

More than two-thirds of the world’s renewable electricity comes from hydropower. However, as with all energy sources, hydropower has hydroclimatic impacts that need to be assessed. Flooding an area after the construction of a dam alters the water balance downstream. Water in reservoirs waiting to be used in turbines is then exposed to the atmosphere and may evaporate, making it unavailable for power generation. The (blue) water footprint of hydropower is an environmental indicator that quantifies the water “lost” to evaporation during the production of a unit of energy. This approach requires the use of the concept of net evaporation, which subtracts the evaporation from the reservoir from the evaporation that occurred in the reservoir area prior to its creation. In cold regions, the presence of ice on reservoirs for several months of the year acts as a barrier that temporarily isolates the water in the reservoir from the air at the surface, slowing the transfer of water vapor to the atmosphere, which is then limited to sublimation. With climate change, the longevity of reservoir ice cover will decrease, with potentially significant impacts on the water footprint of hydropower that need to be quantified.

The main objective of this project is to improve the understanding of reservoir processes in cold regions to support the calculation of the water footprint of hydropower in a changing cryosphere. The core model of this project, fed by in situ observations of the Romaine hydroelectric complex in eastern Canada, is the Canadian Small Lake Model. In particular, we aim to test and improve the model’s ice representation, explore its use over a large spatial domain, and investigate the impact of lateral energy inputs on the calculation of the water footprint.

- MSc degree in engineering, physics, limnology, environmental sciences or geography
- Desirable: experience in modeling
- Motivation, teamwork and communication skills
- Programming experience (Python, R, Matlab or equivalent)

How to apply

Please email Prof. Daniel Nadeau ( and Dr. Biljana Music ( with your CV, a short cover letter, examples of previous research (M.Sc. thesis or published articles), and the names of two references.