Michel Baraër: The Hydrology of Glaciers and Snow in Tropical and Subarctic Regions

The two main passions that drive the work of Michel Baraër, a professor in the Construction Engineering Department, are glaciers and snow, along with their vulnerability to climate change. These two passions have also led this expert in alpine and northern hydrology to travel to tropical and subarctic regions.

Hydrology in the High Valleys of the Tropical Andes: Peru and Bolivia

In a context of climate change, understanding the hydrology of glaciers and snow is essential to managing water resources effectively.

Professor Baraër is an international expert in the hydrological phenomena in the high valleys of the Tropical Andes, which are characterized by both a dry season and a rainy season.

During the dry period, the rivers that serve the highly populated areas are essentially fed by glaciers. This has a significant effect on the economy and the subsistence of these populations.

Yukon Subarctic Hydrology: Yukon

The hydrological phenomena that are found in the Mount St. Elias region of Kluane National Park in the Yukon are different from those that can be found in Peru, primarily because, in addition to surface ice, there is also underground ice and seasonal snow.

A large proportion of the water in the Yukon River comes from these glacial valleys, which are extremely sensitive to climate change. The hydrological processes that occur in this region are poorly understood. Research work must develop models that are better adapted to this region and its many variables.

Quebec Hydrology: The Sainte-Marthe Experimental Watershed

In Québec, precipitation during the winter accumulates in the form of snow, instead of gradually joining the groundwater or running off toward the ocean via the network of streams and rivers.

This water reserve is suddenly released when the snow melts in the spring. This phenomenon carries significant consequences, and its impact on water resources is felt throughout the year.

Michel Baraër is studying the hydrologic behaviour of the snow cover in Québec and has created the Sainte-Marthe Experimental Watershed with his team. A multitude of measuring instruments allows them to capture in real time information essential to the study of water in situ.