During the formation of a frazil-generated ice cover, ice bridging can occur along sections of rivers that are geomorphologically suited (e.g. very sinuous, narrowing channel width, low gradient bed slope) to arrest the flow of ice pans. Bridging may occur at several locations along the river independently from one another with separate ice cover formations occurring simultaneously. Juxtaposition of incoming frazil ice and ice pans extending from the ice bridgings can cause backwater levels to rise upstream and cause flooding. The separate ice covers will eventually merge to completely cover the river sooner than if no additional bridging had occurred. This makes it difficult to predict the time required for a river to be completely ice covered and the locations and timing of related potential flood events. A geospatial model is introduced in this paper that applies a principal component analysis to cluster geomorphological features – such as sinuosity, channel width and channel slope – into typologies. Certain combinations of these typologies reveal predisposition of certain geomorphological features to ice bridging or non-bridging. The Dauphin River in Manitoba is used as a test case for the development of the model.

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