Researchers explore Arctic freshwater's role in ocean circulation



A critical, but insufficiently understood, component of global change is the influence of Arctic freshwater input on water mass exchange between the Arctic Ocean and Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Four of the Earth's 10 largest river systems, the Mackenzie, Ob,Yenisei, and Lena, contribute water to the Arctic shore (Figure 1) from a vast watershed that drains continental interiors. This river discharge flows into the world's largest contiguous continental shelf and supplies over 50% (1823 km3 ) of the riverine input to the Arctic Ocean.