Aerial view of Accomplishment Creek and the Sagavanirktok River in the Brooks Range of Alaska.  Photo by D.L. Kane

Collaborative Research: An Integrated Assessment of the Pan-Arctic Freshwater System: Analysis of Retrospective and Contemporary Conditions

Charles J. Vörösmarty (, University of New Hampshire
Ernst Linder
Steve Frolking (, University of New Hampshire
Mark Fahnestock (, University of New Hampshire
Richard Lammers (, University of New Hampshire

This proposal is a synthesis and integration study of the pan-Arctic water cycle. An Expanded Arctic Regional Integrated Monitoring System (E-RIMS) will be developed that links an existing, operational hydrological monitoring system for the pan-Arctic landmass and atmosphere (Arctic-RIMS) to an Arctic Ocean and sea ice component. On the terrestrial side, E-RIMS will produce time varying aerological and land surface water budgets including river and ice melt inputs to the Arctic Ocean. For the ocean, freshwater fluxes from the atmosphere and land will be used in concert with observed mass, heat and momentum forcing to drive a coupled ocean-sea ice-atmosphere model. The linked models will be used to examine the origin of freshwater fluxes in the atmosphere and landmass and how water is then partitioned between solid (sea ice) and liquid forms in the ocean. E-RIMS will also track freshwater transport off the shelf, downward below the mixed layer, and laterally toward the straits leading to the North Atlantic Ocean. The near real-time monitoring program and historical analysis (from 1960) provides an important benchmark for understanding future change to the arctic hydrologic cycle. In keeping with current Arctic-RIMS protocols, provisional data sets (ca. 1-2 month delay) will be made available and then re-analyzed at yearly intervals for improved quality assurance. All key elements of the terrestrial and ocean water balance will be provided, including an assessment of potential error. Operational data sets will be freely accessible on partner institution web sites and through NSIDC.

E-RIMS will complement efforts by other investigators using more fully coupled air-land-ocean models, by providing to them initial and boundary conditions and by carrying-out a set of preliminary numerical experiments to help design their more computationally expensive feedback studies. As a final part of this work, NWP predictions and medium-term forecasts will be used to explore how much skill will have been developed over the course of this study.

Arctic CHAMP
Science Management Office

Contact Information
Role of the Arctic-CHAMP Science Management Office
Photo: Aerial view of Accomplishment Creek and the
     Sagavanirktok River in the Brooks Range of Alaska.  Photo by D.L. Kane