Pan-Arctic river discharge: Prioritizing monitoring of future climate change hot spots

Academic Article


  • AbstractThe Arctic freshwater cycle is changing rapidly, which will require adequate monitoring of river flows to detect, observe, and understand changes and provide adaptation information. There has, however, been little detail about where the greatest flow changes are projected, and where monitoring therefore may need to be strengthened. In this study, we used a set of recent climate model runs and an advanced macro‐scale hydrological model to analyze how flows across the continental pan‐Arctic are projected to change and where the climate models agree on significant changes. We also developed a method to identify where monitoring stations should be placed to observe these significant changes, and compared this set of suggested locations with the existing network of monitoring stations. Overall, our results reinforce earlier indications of large increases in flow over much of the Arctic, but we also identify some areas where projections agree on significant changes but disagree on the sign of change. For monitoring, central and eastern Siberia, Alaska, and central Canada are hot spots for the highest changes. To take advantage of existing networks, a number of stations across central Canada and western and central Siberia could form a prioritized set. Further development of model representation of high‐latitude hydrology would improve confidence in the areas we identify here. Nevertheless, ongoing observation programs may consider these suggested locations in efforts to improve monitoring of the rapidly changing Arctic freshwater cycle.
  • Authors

  • Bring, Arvid
  • Shiklomanov, Alexander
  • Lammers, Richard B
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 2017
  • Published In

  • Earth's Future  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Climate projections
  • Hydrological monitoring
  • Pan-Arctic Drainage Basin
  • Pan-Arctic river discharge
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 72
  • End Page

  • 92
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 1