Professor David Male 1939-2020

The University of Saskatchewan hydrological community has lost one of the developers of hydrology at USask. Dr. David Male, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at USask, was one of the pioneers of the study of snow with seminal studies of snowmelt energetics, blowing snow transport, snow sublimation, infiltration into frozen soils and the development of hydrological models. Together with Professor Don Gray he edited and wrote parts of the 776 page Handbook of Snow: Principles, Processes, Management and Use in 1980 – still the most comprehensive book on snow and a key foundational book

Professor Male contributed a strong physics-based approach to the study of cold regions hydrology and emphasized the need for results to be based on firm physical principles and advanced experimentation and observations in outdoor environments. He was amongst the first to identify the major problems with solving the “energy equation” for snowmelt and then to offer solutions using coupled energy and mass budgets, dimensional analysis, turbulent transfer and radiative transfer theory. Working with Raoul Granger, Don Gray and Tom Brown, he deployed advanced instrumentation controlled by computers for snowmelt studies at remote sites in the early 1970s when this presented considerable technical challenges. He was active in all aspects of snow science from leading advanced field studies at the USask Division of Hydrology’s Bad Lake research site, to developing analytical solutions for mathematical problems, writing computer models, training students, and writing scientific papers and books.

Professor Male was a lead faculty member in the Division of Hydrology and his work at the University of Saskatchewan laid the foundation for USask’s development of cold regions hydrology and water security into current areas of institutional strength. He also made important contributions to the work of Environment Canada, National Research Council of Canada, American Geophysical Union, US Office of Hydrology (National Weather Service), Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Saskatchewan Environment, Alberta Environment and other groups. Dr. Male was an excellent teacher who could explain difficult engineering concepts exceptionally clearly to his students. He will be remembered by his former students and colleagues not only as an exceptionally brilliant scholar who made formidable advances in science, but also as a very nice, warm, supportive and friendly person who welcomed and encouraged many into engineering, science and academia. Professor Male passed away in Saskatoon earlier this month, his full obituary can be found here.
Many of his publications can be found here.