Shawn Clark

Shawn Clark

Department of Civil Engineering
University of Manitoba

Chair title

NSERC/Manitoba Hydro Industrial Research Chair in River Ice Engineering

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2014


The formation, growth and break-up of an ice cover are challenging and dynamic processes that are not yet fully understood. The presence of an ice cover on a river system that has properties that vary over time and space presents many complexities to understanding the resulting flow characteristics. Manitoba Hydro’s (MH) entire hydraulic system is affected by river ice processes for a significant portion of each year. These processes negatively impact the efficiency of the MH system and reduce potential revenues at a time that coincides with the peak annual energy demand of the province.

The overarching objective of this IRC program is to significantly improve our understanding of river ice processes and to incorporate this new knowledge into a comprehensive river ice simulation program. This will allow MH to assess and mitigate the negative effects of river ice on their system. Many of the algorithms currently used to simulate various ice processes are overly simplistic or are empirically based and require site-specific calibration. Additional research is required to further advance the understanding of complex ice processes before they can be modelled accurately. Three areas have been identified as warranting further research:

  • River ice formation;
  • Ice hydraulics; and
  • Climate change effects.

A team of researchers from the University of Manitoba, Clarkson University and MH will undertake six projects that overlap these three areas. Projects will include studying the ice consolidation processes on the Lower Nelson River, evaluating the effects of hanging ice dams and ice jams on sediment transport and channel conveyance, measuring the turbulent flow characteristics of partial ice covers and investigating freeze-up processes on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers as well as upstream of the Jenpeg Generating Station.

Results from each of these projects will be used to develop new and improved numerical subroutines that will be incorporated into a comprehensive river ice simulation program. This program will become one of the main mechanisms by which the results of this IRC program will be transferred to MH as well as other industrial partners and municipalities throughout the country, thereby allowing them to forecast, understand and help mitigate ice-related issues that affect their operations.


  • Manitoba Hydro

Contact information

Department of Civil Engineering
University of Manitoba
Engineering Building, Room E1-368A, 15 Gillson Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3T 5V6

Tel.: 204-474-9046
Fax: 204-474-7513


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