Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Decreasing river discharge in northern Canada
Article first published online: 25 MAY 2005
Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 32, Issue 10, May 2005
How to Cite
2005), Decreasing river discharge in northern Canada, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L10401, doi:10.1029/2005GL022845., and (
- Issue published online: 25 MAY 2005
- Article first published online: 25 MAY 2005
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 APR 2005
- Manuscript Revised: 8 APR 2005
- Manuscript Received: 26 FEB 2005
 Freshwater discharge to high-latitude oceans in 64 Canadian rivers is investigated. The mean annual discharge rate attains 1252 km3 yr−1 for an area of 5.6 × 106 km2, equating to a sink of 225 mm yr−1 in the surface water budget of northern Canada (excluding the Arctic Archipelago where insufficient data exist). Application of the Mann-Kendall test to the data reveals a 10% decrease (−125 km3 yr−1 or −22 mm yr−1) in the total annual river discharge to the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans from 1964 to 2003. This trend in river runoff is consistent with a 21 mm yr−1 decline in observed precipitation over northern Canada between 1964 and 2000. We find evidence of statistically-significant links between the Arctic Oscillation, El Niño/Southern Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to the total annual freshwater discharge in northern Canada's rivers at interannual-to-decadal timescales.