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Relevance of Hydro-Climatic Change Projection and Monitoring for Assessment of Water Cycle Changes in the Arctic
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2011 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, Vol. 40, no 4, 316-369 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rapid changes to the Arctic hydrological cycle challenge both our process understanding and our ability to find appropriate adaptation strategies. We have investigated the relevance and accuracy development of climate change projections for assessment of water cycle changes in major Arctic drainage basins. Results show relatively good agreement of climate model projections with observed temperature changes, but high model inaccuracy relative to available observation data for precipitation changes. Direct observations further show systematically larger (smaller) runoff than precipitation increases (decreases). This result is partly attributable to uncertainties and systematic bias in precipitation observations, but still indicates that some of the observed increase in Arctic river runoff is due to water storage changes, for example melting permafrost and/or groundwater storage changes, within the drainage basins. Such causes of runoff change affect sea level, in addition to ocean salinity, and inland water resources, ecosystems, and infrastructure. Process-based hydrological modeling and observations, which can resolve changes in evapotranspiration, and groundwater and permafrost storage at and below river basin scales, are needed in order to accurately interpret and translate climate-driven precipitation changes to changes in freshwater cycling and runoff. In contrast to this need, our results show that the density of Arctic runoff monitoring has become increasingly biased and less relevant by decreasing most and being lowest in river basins with the largest expected climatic changes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 40, no 4, 316-369 p.
Keyword [en]
Hydrology, Climate change, General circulation models, Monitoring, Pan-Arctic drainage basin, Runoff
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-56722DOI: 10.1007/s13280-010-0109-1ISI: 000289791700003OAI: diva2:412663
Available from: 2011-04-26 Created: 2011-04-26 Last updated: 2013-01-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Arctic Climate and Water Change: Information Relevance for Assessment and Adaptation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Arctic Climate and Water Change: Information Relevance for Assessment and Adaptation
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Arctic is subject to growing economic and political interest. Meanwhile, its water and climate systems are in rapid transformation. Relevant and accessible information about water and climate is therefore vital to detect, understand and adapt to the changes. This thesis investigates hydrological monitoring systems, climate model data, and our understanding of hydro-climatic change, for adaptation to water system changes in the Arctic. Results indicate a lack of harmonized water chemistry data, which may impede efforts to understand transport and origin of key waterborne constituents. Further development of monitoring cannot rely only on a reconciliation of observations and projections on where climate change will be the most severe, as they diverge in this regard. Climate model simulations of drainage basin temperature and precipitation have improved between two recent model generations, but large inaccuracies remain for precipitation projections. Late 20th-century discharge changes in major Arctic rivers generally show excess of water relative to precipitation changes. This indicates a possible contribution of stored water from permafrost or groundwater to sea level rise. The river contribution to the increasing Arctic Ocean freshwater inflow matches that of glaciers, which underlines the importance of considering all sources when assessing change. To provide adequate information for research and policy, Arctic hydrological and hydrochemical monitoring needs to be extended, better integrated and made more accessible. This especially applies to hydrochemistry monitoring, where a more complete set of monitored basins is motivated, including a general extension for the large unmonitored areas close to the Arctic Ocean. Improvements in climate model parameterizations are needed, in particular for precipitation projections. Finally, further water-focused data and modeling efforts are required to resolve the source of excess discharge in Arctic rivers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 2013. 16 p.
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 35
Hydrology, Monitoring, Arctic, Climate Change, Adaptatation
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86919 (URN)978-91-7447-638-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-03-11, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Formas, 2007-1263Swedish Research Council, 2007-8393

At the time of doctoral defence the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Accepted; Paper 4: Manuscript

Available from: 2013-02-14 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2013-02-12Bibliographically approved

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