Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-308
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Dec 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
River predisposition to ice jams: a simplified geospatial model
Stéphane De Munck1, Yves Gauthier1, Monique Bernier1, Karem Chokmani1, and Serge Légaré2 1Centre Eau Terre Environnement, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS), Quebec City (Quebec), G1K 9A9, Canada
2Ministère de la Sécurité publique (MSP), Quebec City (Quebec), G1V 2L2, Canada
Abstract. The goal of this work was to develop a simplified geospatial model to estimate the predisposition of any river channel to ice jams. Rather than predicting river ice break up, the main question here was to predict where the broken up ice is susceptible to jam based on the river’s geomorphological characteristics. Thus, six parameters referred to potential causes for ice jams in the literature were selected: presence of an island, narrowing of the channel, high sinuosity, presence of a bridge, confluence of rivers, and slope break. A GIS-based tool has been used to generate the aforementioned factors over regular-spaced segments along the entire channel using available geospatial data. An "Ice Jam Predisposition Index" (IJPI) was calculated by combining the weighted optimal factors. Three Canadian rivers (Province of Quebec) have been chosen as test sites. The resulting maps were assessed from historical observations and local knowledge. Results show 77 % of the observed ice jam sites on record occurred in river sections that the model considered as having high or medium predisposition. This leaves 23 % of false negative errors (missed occurrence). Between 7 % and 11 % of the highly "predisposed" river sections did not have an ice jam on record (false-positive errors). Potential improvements are discussed.

Citation: De Munck, S., Gauthier, Y., Bernier, M., Chokmani, K., and Légaré, S.: River predisposition to ice jams: a simplified geospatial model, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2016-308, in review, 2016.
Stéphane De Munck et al.
Stéphane De Munck et al.
Stéphane De Munck et al.

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Short summary
Ice jams emerge from the accumulation of fragmented ice on a specific section of a river, obstructing the channel and restricting the flow. The resulting floods are socio-economically costly as well as life threatening. When breakup occurs and ice starts to move downstream the river, a key question is: where would the released ice be susceptible to jam? The goal of this work was to develop a simplified geospatial model to estimate the predisposition of any river channel to ice jams.
Ice jams emerge from the accumulation of fragmented ice on a specific section of a river,...
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