The arctic freshwater system: Changes and impacts

Daniel White, Larry Hinzman, Lilian Alessa, John Cassano, Molly Chambers, Kelly Falkner, Jennifer Francis, William J. Gutowski, Marika Holland, R. Max Holmes, Henry Huntington, Douglas Kane, Andrew Kliskey, Craig Lee, James McClelland, Bruce Peterson, T. Scott Rupp, Fiamma Straneo, Michael Steele, Rebecca WoodgateDaqing Yang, Kenji Yoshikawa, Tingjun Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


Dramatic changes have been observed in the Arctic over the last century. Many of these involve the storage and cycling of fresh water. On land, precipitation and river discharge, lake abundance and size, glacier area and volume, soil moisture, and a variety of permafrost characteristics have changed. In the ocean, sea ice thickness and areal coverage have decreased and water mass circulation patterns have shifted, changing freshwater pathways and sea ice cover dynamics. Precipitation onto the ocean surface has also changed. Such changes are expected to continue, and perhaps accelerate, in the coming century, enhanced by complex feedbacks between the oceanic, atmospheric, and terrestrial freshwater systems. Change to the arctic freshwater system heralds changes for our global physical and ecological environment as well as human activities in the Arctic. In this paper we review observed changes in the arctic freshwater system over the last century in terrestrial, atmospheric, and oceanic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberG04S54
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 28 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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