Siberian Lena River hydrologic regime and recent change

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Abstract

[1] The long-term (1935–1999) monthly records of temperature, precipitation, stream flow, river ice thickness, and active layer depth have been analyzed in this study to examine Lena River hydrologic regime and recent change. Remarkable hydrologic changes have been identified in this study. During the cold season (October–April), significant increases (25–90%) in stream flow and decrease in river ice thickness have been found due to warming in Siberia. In the snowmelt period (May–June), strong warming in spring leads to an advance of snowmelt season into late May and results in a lower daily maximum discharge in June. During summer months (July–September) the changes in stream flow hydrology are less significant in comparison to those for winter and spring seasons. A slight stream flow increase is discovered for both July and August, mainly owing to precipitation increase in May and June. Discharge in September has a slight downward trend due to precipitation decrease and temperature increase in August. The magnitudes of changes in stream flow and river ice thickness identified in this study are large enough to alter the hydrologic regime. Investigation into the hydrologic response of the Lena River to climate change and variation reveals strong linkages of stream flow with temperature and precipitation. We therefore believe that Lena River hydrologic regime changes are mainly the consequence of recent climate warming over Siberia and also closely related to changes in permafrost condition.

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