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Arctic Climate and Water Change: Information Relevance for Assessment and Adaptation
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology. (Hydrology)
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.
Series
Dissertations from the Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, ISSN 1653-7211 ; 35
Keyword [en]
Hydrology, Monitoring, Arctic, Climate Change, Adaptatation
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86919ISBN: 978-91-7447-638-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-86919DiVA: diva2:601677
Public defence
2013-03-11, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Formas, 2007-1263Swedish Research Council, 2007-8393
Note

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
List of papers
1. Hydrological and hydrochemical observation status in the pan-Arctic drainage basin
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydrological and hydrochemical observation status in the pan-Arctic drainage basin
2009 (English)In: Polar Research, ISSN 0800-0395, E-ISSN 1751-8369, Vol. 28, 327-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In order to identify and understand the ongoing changes in the Arctic hydrological cycle, and the impacts on the Arctic Ocean, timely and open access to water and water-chemistry data is essential. By synthesizing and analysing all openly accessible water-discharge and water-quality data, we present an updated, quantitative picture of the status of observational data on hydrological and hydrochemical fluxes from the pan-Arctic drainage basin (PADB) to the ocean. We identify and compare the characteristics of monitored and unmonitored areas, and the differences between them, across the continents in the PADB. Results indicate significant gaps in monitoring data for water chemistry, in particular for high-latitude near-coastal areas. The differences in characteristics between monitored and unmonitored areas may bias assessments of hydrological and hydrochemical fluxes to the Arctic Ocean. The reliable identification and understanding of important biogeochemical processes in the PADB require extended monitoring, particularly in high-latitude permafrost ground, and more ready access to harmonized and integrated hydrochemical data.

Keyword
Discharge, hydrochemistry, hydrology, monitoring, pan-Arctic drainage basin, water chemistry
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31297 (URN)10.1111/j.1751-8369.2009.00126.x (DOI)000272163900002 ()
Available from: 2009-11-09 Created: 2009-11-09 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Hydro-climatic changes and their monitoring in the Arctic: Observation-model comparisons and prioritization options for monitoring development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hydro-climatic changes and their monitoring in the Arctic: Observation-model comparisons and prioritization options for monitoring development
2013 (English)In: Journal of Hydrology, ISSN 0022-1694, E-ISSN 1879-2707, Vol. 492, 273-280 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Arctic undergoes particularly large and rapid hydro-climatic changes, and information on hydrological responses to these changes is crucial to plan for societal adaptation. We investigate hydro-climatic change severity and monitoring in 14 major hydrological basins across the pan-Arctic, in view of different possible strategies for their monitoring prioritization. Results show that the current distribution of monitoring density in these basins is more relevant for so far observed precipitation changes than for observed temperature changes, or for projected future temperature and precipitation changes. Furthermore, present and projected future hot-spots of greatest hydro-climatic change differ spatially, so that major spatial shifts must occur in the future among the different Arctic basins in order for observations and climate model projections to converge with regard to hydro-climatic change severity. Also temporally, observation-model convergence requires that important change direction shifts occur in major Arctic basins, which have currently decreasing precipitation while model projections imply future increasing precipitation within them. Different prioritization options for rational development of hydro-climatic monitoring can be argued for based on the present results. The divergent prioritization options imply a need for an explicit strategy for achieving certain information goals, which must be selected from a larger set of different possible goals based on societal importance.

Keyword
Hydrology, Monitoring, Arctic, Climate Change, Adaptation
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86916 (URN)10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.04.003 (DOI)000321023900024 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007–8393Formas, 2007–1263
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
3. Relevance of Hydro-Climatic Change Projection and Monitoring for Assessment of Water Cycle Changes in the Arctic
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Relevance of Hydro-Climatic Change Projection and Monitoring for Assessment of Water Cycle Changes in the Arctic
2011 (English)In: Ambio, ISSN 0044-7447, E-ISSN 1654-7209, 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.

Keyword
Hydrology, Climate change, General circulation models, Monitoring, Pan-Arctic drainage basin, Runoff
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-56722 (URN)10.1007/s13280-010-0109-1 (DOI)000289791700003 ()
Available from: 2011-04-26 Created: 2011-04-26 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. Evaluation of IPCC AR4 climate model performance over 14 major Arctic watersheds
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation of IPCC AR4 climate model performance over 14 major Arctic watersheds
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Climate Research
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86918 (URN)
Available from: 2013-01-22 Created: 2013-01-22 Last updated: 2013-01-30
5. Integrated assessment of changes in freshwater inflow to the Arctic Ocean
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integrated assessment of changes in freshwater inflow to the Arctic Ocean
2010 (English)In: Journal of Geophysical Research, ISSN 0148-0227, E-ISSN 2156-2202, Vol. 115, no D12116Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present an integrated and updated quantitative estimation of the river discharge and the meltwater flux and mass contributions from glaciers to the Arctic Ocean and to sea level rise. The average meltwater fluxes from mountain glaciers and ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet have increased markedly, by 56 km3/yr water equivalent (w.e.) and 160 km3/yr w.e., respectively, from the period 1961–1992 to the period 1993–2006, reaching in total 700–800 km3/yr w.e. in 2000–2006. Terrestrial runoff is on the order of 2.4 × 103 km3/yr and remains significantly larger than the glacier meltwater flux. The terrestrial runoff increase from 1961–1992 to 1993–2006 is 87 km3/yr, which is small in relative terms, but in absolute terms it is of the same order of magnitude as the meltwater increase from glaciers. The total contribution to sea level rise from glaciers draining to the Arctic Ocean has increased from 0.27 mm/yr (1961–1992) to about 0.64 mm/yr (1993–2006). In some years of the 1993–2006 period, the glacier contribution to sea level rise reached almost 1 mm/yr.

Keyword
Arctic fresh water
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-42374 (URN)10.1029/2009JD013060 (DOI)000279308700006 ()
Available from: 2010-08-26 Created: 2010-08-26 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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