Arctic Climate and Water Change : Information Relevance for Assessment and Adaptation

Sammanfattning: 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.