Professional Experience

Research Professional for Northern Hydrology and Climate Change | Jun 2021 – Present

Yukon Research Centre | Whitehorse, Yukon

Forecasting river ice breakup for three Yukon communities (Government of Yukon) – ongoing: creation of river ice maps from radar imagery for river ice breakup forecasting.

The Äshèyi Chu/ Aishihik River – River Ice Model (CIRNAC) – ongoing: development of an algorithm to detect ice bridging on a narrow river using Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 imagery. The work is based on a combination of Google Earth Engine Code Editor and Python in ArcGIS. The location of ice bridges is validated via drone flights. Analyzing the resulting congestion point, we can gain an understanding for locations in the river where ice bridging frequently occurs. The outputs of this analysis will be used in a numerical river ice model, which aims at supporting the reduction of overbank icing and flooding.  

Developing 3D profiles for major river systems of the Yukon (Government of Yukon) – ongoing: supervision of a student to create river profiles and coding of scripts to support the work.

Understanding, simulating, and mitigating icing issues at stream crossings along the Dempster Highway and Silver Trail (NTCF) – ongoing: assessing and mitigating surface hydrology, icing, and erosion related issues along highways. Monitoring using instrument installs and drone surveys. Development of an app for site visits.

Bringing Research Home (CMN) – ongoing: development of an online mapping tool in close collaboration with Kluane First Nation. The work aims to create a closer connection between Kluane First Nation citizens and researchers. The tool is based on Esri’s Experience Builder.

Instructor | Jan 2018 – Dec 2022

Yukon University | Whitehorse, Yukon

Teaching the laboratory component of the courses GEOG101 and GEOG102.  

Independent GIS Consultant | Jun 2019 – Oct 2020

Wildlife Conservation Society | Whitehorse, Yukon

Prioritizing Indigenous conservation values into land use planning – completed in 2020: Spatial prioritization using the software Zonation to support land use planning.

Surveying Chinook Salmon spawning areas to establish conservation strategies for the Beaver River Land Use Plan – completed in 2019: Investigation of Google Earth Engine to map existing permafrost slumps and landslides to use in the field.

Climate Change Research Assistant | Sep 2017 – Jun 2021

Yukon Research Centre | Whitehorse, Yukon

Flooding in Dawson and Old Crow: Exposure analysis and risk reduction recommendations (NDMP, Community Services, and ArcticNET) – completed in 2022: surveying of essential buildings and mapping of first floor building elevations to analyze their vulnerability based on various flood scenarios. 

Preliminary Assessment of Flood Exposure for future lot development in the Klondike River and Carmacks (NDMP, Community Services, and ArcticNET) – completed in 2022: spatial flood modelling.

Restoring the flooded Coffee Lake Community Hall access road to better address community trauma through revitalizing land-based healing – completed 2021. Site assessment and evaluation in collaboration with the Ross River Dena Council.

Climate impacts on Mayo and Aishihik River Hydrology (NSERC) – completed in 2020: Field sampling, install and maintenance of meteorological stations and data analysis.

Review of Climate Change Adaptation in the Canadian North – completed in 2019: Identifying common themes, actions, and opportunities to improve access to adaptation knowledge.

Climate Change and Northern Hydrology Technical Analyst | Jan 2017 – Jul 2017

Yukon Research Centre | Whitehorse, Yukon

Developing a tool for flood risk assessment in Yukon communities (NDMP) – completed in 2018: Development of an online tool to assess flood risk in Yukon communities in partnership with Emergency Measures Organization.  

Hydrology Research Assistant | Aug 2016 – Dec 2016

Yukon Research Centre | Whitehorse, Yukon

Evaluating climate change impacts on the upper Yukon River basin (NSERC and Yukon Energy) – completed in 2016: Hydrological modelling and water sampling on the ground and in helicopter flight.

Hydrology Research Assistant & Master’s Thesis | Aug 2013 – Aug 2014

Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium | Victoria, BC

Correction of Precipitation Bias in the Fraser River Basin – completed in 2016: Improving of the quality of gridded precipitation data, using a monthly water balance model.

GIS Developer & Bachelor’s Thesis | Apr 2012 – Jul 2012

German Weather Office (Deutscher Wetterdienst) | Munich, Germany

GIS-based placement of meteorological stations – completed 2012: Development of an automated system using ArcGIS to find optimal locations for placing meteorological stations.

Field Research Assistant | Mar 2010 – Mar 2011

Ludwig Maximillian University | Munich, Germany

Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity Hydrology (SMOSHYD): Measuring of soil moisture for the validation of satellite data. Analyses of field data in ArcGIS.

Education

Certificate in Heritage and Culture | 2017 – 2018

Yukon College | Whitehorse, Yukon

Master of Science with Honours – Mountain and Climate Geography | 2012 – 2016

Karl Franzens University | Graz, Austria

Bachelor of Science – Geography | 2009 – 2012

Ludwig Maximillian University | Munich, Germany

Publications

Saal, S., Turcotte, B., Dubnick, A., Girard, M. (under preparation). A logic-driven algorithm for the detection of river ice on a narrow river using Sentinel-1. 22nd CGU HS CRIPE Workshop on the Hydraulics of Ice-Covered Rivers. Canmore, AB.

Mantyka-Pringle, C., Jody Beaumont, J., Clarke, C., Whalen, L., Ayoub, N., Kortsalo, P., Saal, S., Fraser, K., Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (under preparation). A two-eyed seeing approach for prioritizing Indigenous conservation values with other environmental values into land use planning.

Turcotte, B., Dubnick, A., Girard, M., Saal, S. (under preparation). Monitoring the development of aufeis in Yukon, Canada. 22nd CGU HS CRIPE Workshop on the Hydraulics of Ice-Covered Rivers. Canmore, AB.

Girard, M., Turcotte, B., Dubnick, A., Saal, S. (under preparation). Current and future flooding processes along large rivers systems of Yukon.

Turcotte, B., Saal, S. (2022). Flooding in Old Crow: exposure analysis and risk reduction recommendations. Whitehorse: Presented to the Infrastructure Branch of the Department of Community Services, Government of Yukon. YukonU Research Centre – Climate Change Research; 87 p.

Turcotte, B., Saal, S. (2022). Flooding in Dawson City: exposure analysis and risk reduction recommendations. Whitehorse: Presented to the Infrastructure Branch of the Department of Community Services, Government of Yukon. YukonU Research Centre – Climate Change Research; 90 p.

Turcotte, B., Saal, S. (2021). Preliminary assessment of flood exposure for future development areas in Dawson and Carmacks. Whitehorse: YukonU Research Center; 42 p.

Saal, S., Jolkowski, D., Bakker, K., Spencer, C., Arey, K., Tolbat, K. (2019). Review of Climate Change Adaptation in the Canadian North: Identifying common themes, actions, and opportunities to improve access to adaptation knowledge. Yukon Research Centre – Northern Climate ExChange; 111 p.

Samuel, J., Kavanaugh, J., Benkert, B., Samolczyck, M., Laxtron, S., Evans, R., Saal, S., Gonet, J., Horton, B., Clague, J., Harmer, Z., Kinnear, L. (2016). Evaluating climate change impacts on the upper Yukon River basin: Projecting future conditions using glacier, climate and hydrological models. Yukon Research Centre – Northern Climate ExChange; 113p.

Training

ACC Winter Leadership Course Sponsored by The North Face | 2023

AST2 | 2023

Whiteout Navigation | 2022

Rock Rescue | 2022

Emergency First Responder Advanced First Aid CPR/AED | 2021

Swift Water Rescue | 2019

AST1 | 2019

Crevasse Rescue | 2018

TCPS 2: CORE – Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans | 2017