Dr. Spyros Beltaos, P.Eng.

Research Scientist

Study Leader, Ecosystem and Climate Impacts of Extreme River Ice Jams and Floods

Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment Canada’s mandate to conserve and protect aquatic ecosystems

  • Effects of climate on ice-jam flooding of the Mackenzie Delta, a key mechanism for the replenishment of delta habitats and sustenance of the delta ecosystem
  • Hydroclimatic impacts on the frequency of ice-jam floods in regulated northern rivers and ecological implications to the Peace-Athabasca Delta
  • Climatic controls and ecosystem impacts of ice-jam flooding in major New Brunswick Rivers

Professional activities / interests

Editor and co-author, "River Ice Jams" (1996), used as a university textbook, and "River Ice Breakup" (2008) from Water Resources Publications

Co-supervised 2 Ph.D. and 2 M.Sc. thesis students, and currently co-supervising 1 M.Sc. student via affiliations with 4 Universities

President, Canadian Geophysical Union - Hydrology Section (CGU-HS), 2003-2005; Vice President and Program Chair of Annual Hydrology Scientific Meetings, 2001-2003

Chair, Committee on River Ice Processes and the Environment, CGU-HS, 1992-2003

Education and awards

"Bernard Michel" award in recognition of outstanding contributions made in river ice science and engineering (2009), Canadian Geophysical Union - Committee on River Ice Processes and the Environment

Can-Am Civil Engineering Amity award for work in the areas of river ice hydraulics, numerical modelling, field investigations of river ice problems, and the effects of climate change (2003), ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers).

“Camille A. Dagenais” Award of CSCE (Canadian Society for Civil Engineering) for outstanding contributions to the field of hydrotechnical engineering (1999)

Keefer Medals of CSCE, awarded annually for best paper on a Civil Engineering subject other than surveying, structures, and heavy construction (1978, 1982)

Key publications

Beltaos, S. 2013. Hydrodynamic characteristics and effects of river waves caused by ice jam releases.  Cold Regions Science and Technology 85: 42–55

Beltaos, S., Carter, T., and Rowsell, R. 2012. Measurements and analysis of ice breakup and jamming characteristics in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 82: 110-123.

Beltaos, S. 2012. Mackenzie Delta flow during spring breakup: Uncertainties and potential improvements. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering. 39(5): 579-588.

Beltaos, S., Krishnappan, B.G., Rowsell, R., Carter, T., Pilling, R., and Bergeron, P.E. 2012. Flow Structure and Channel Stability at the Site of a Deep Scour Hole, Mackenzie Delta, Canada. Arctic, 65(2): 182-194.

Beltaos, S. 2012. Distributed function analysis of ice jam flood frequency. Cold Regions Science and Technology. 71: 1–10.

Prowse, T., K. Alfredsen, S. Beltaos, B. Bonsal, W.B. Bowden, C. Duguay, A. Korhola, J. McNamara, W.F. Vincent, V. Vuglinsky, K.M.W. Anthony and G.A. Weyhenmeyer. 2011. Arctic Past and Future Changes in Arctic Lake and River Ice. Ambio, 40: 53-62.

Beltaos, S., Carter, T. and Prowse, T. 2011. Morphology and genesis of deep scour holes in the Mackenzie Delta. Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, 38: 638-649.

Beltaos, S., Rowsell, R. and Tang, P. 2011. Remote data collection on ice breakup dynamics: Saint John River case study. Cold Regions Science and Technology 67(3): 135-145.   

Beltaos, S. 2010. Internal strength properties of river ice jams. Cold Regions Science and Technology 62: 83–91.

Beltaos, S. and Prowse, T. 2009. River-ice hydrology in a shrinking cryosphere. Hydrological Processes, 23: 122–144.

Beltaos, S. 2008. Progress in the study and management of river ice jams. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 51(1): 2-19. [Invited review paper].

Research facility

867 Lakeshore Rd.
Burlington, ON L7S 1A1


Research Associate, Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Brunswick, 1989-2003

Adjunct Professor: Department of Geography, University of Victoria, 2006-present; Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, 1996-2000.