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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 17, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Philip Marsh

Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Water Science

Contact Information
Phone: 519-884-0710 ext.2856

Office Location: 3E18

Personal Website:
Academic Background

PhD, McMaster University, 1983

MSc, McMaster University, 1978

BA, York University, 1975


I recieved my Ph.D. from McMaster University in 1983. After my Ph.D. I was a research Scientist at Environment Canada's National Hydrology Research Centre in Saskatoon until the summer of 2013 when I moved from NHRC to take up a Canada Research Chair position in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier.

Since my first research field trip to Ellesmere Is. in 1975, my research has focussed exculsively on the hydrology of Arctic Canada with a focus on the effects of snow, ice, permafrost on the hydrology of key northern ecosystems. To this has included the Canadian Arctic Islands, the Western Canadian Arctic and the Mackenzie River Basin. Over the last 20 years this research program has focussed on (1) the hydrology of upland watersheds in the Western Canadian Arctic, and (2) the hydrology of the Mackenzie Delta. In both cases, I have worked with ecologists to better understand the interactions between hydrology and ecology.

My recent upland hydrology studies, including the focus of my Canada Research Chair Program, have focussed on the impact of a changing climate on the increase of shrubs across the tundra, and the resulting impact of this on snow, soil moisture, permafrost and runoff. I collaborate with a number of colleagues on research in the Taiga Plains region of the NWT.

My Mackenzie Delta research has focussed on understanding the hydrology of this unique northern ecosystem where I have worked closely with Dr. Lance Lesack at Simon Fraser University.This collaborative research program has considered the hydrology of the approximately 50,000 lakes in the delta, and understanding the flooding of these lakes due to Mackenzie River discharge and ice jams, storm surges and changing sea level of the Beaufort Sea, and changes in local climate.

Dr. Philip Marsh is a Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies and a member of the Cold Regions Research Centre. Facilities included instrumented research basins in the NWT and the new Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science at Laurier.

Additional Information

Link to Publications

Further information can be found at:


Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Positions in Arctic Snow Hydrology

Postdoctoral (2) and MSc and PhD positions (3) are available in a growing, and well-funded, research program focussed on expanding our understanding of the impact of a changing climate on the hydrology of the Canadian Arctic, with a focus on the snow component of the hydrological system and its interactions with climate, vegetation and permafrost. Field work will be carried out at a remote field camp located 50 km north of Inuvik, NWT, Canada, in the transition from northern boreal forest to tundra. Photos are available at: This research program builds on a 25 year research data base of hydrological data and extensive remote sensing products, and is installing and using new infrastructure such as Unmanned Aerial Systems with multiple imaging sensors; cosmic ray sensors for snow and soil moisture observations; eddy covariance systems; blowing snow particle detectors; and discharge monitoring systems for example. This research program is fully integrated with numerous national and international research teams in order to integrate modelling, remote sensing, ecological, and carbon flux studies with this snow hydrology program. A key aspect of this program is the establishment of a remote field camp 50 km north of Inuvik. This research program, funded by multiple agencies including the Canada Research Chairs program, is housed at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (the joint graduate program with the University of Waterloo is one of the largest such programs in Canada) and contributes to the Centre for Cold Regions ( and the Taiga Plains Research Network ( In addition it is an importance component of the Government of the Northwest Territories and Laurier 10-year Partnership Agreement This partnership is aimed at expanding the Territories’ capacity to conduct environmental research and to train the next generation of northern expertise.

Applicants with appropriate academic backgrounds, outdoor experience, and/or modelling ability, are encouraged to apply. Research projects include:

1) Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship in Arctic Hydrology: This Fellowship provides funding “to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country's economic, social and research‑based growth”.  Full details is available at: Successful candidates will receive funding for two years at $70,000 per year. As the first step in this process, Professor Marsh invites potential applicants to submit a letter of interest by July 15, 2015 including a letter of introduction, CV, names of three references, and a 1 page statement of research interest to the email below. An outstanding candidate will be selected, at which time a full proposal will be developed in collaboration with Dr. Marsh and submitted to Laurier by August 15, 2015. This will be a very competitive application process.

2) Other Postdoctoral and Graduate research projects in Snow Hydrology could include:

- Controls on snow accumulation and melt across patchy (tundra, shrub, forest) environments

- The role of deep snow drifts in controlling streamflow

- Past changes in snow hydrology

- High resolution modelling of the interactions between snow, vegetation, active layer and runoff

- The impact of a changing climate on water resources

Candidates in a discipline related to the project (Geography, Hydrology, Ecology, Modelling), and with appropriate field or modelling experience are encouraged to submit a letter of interest as soon as possible including a letter of introduction, CV, names of three references, and a brief statement of research interest to the email below. Dr. Marsh will encourage appropriate applicants to submit full applications to the Department of Geography in order to begin programs in the fall of 2015 or winter of 2016.

Contact Information:

Philip Marsh, Canada Research Chair, Cold Regions Research Centre,

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada