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Increasing River Discharge to the Arctic Ocean

Science  13 Dec 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5601, pp. 2171-2173
DOI: 10.1126/science.1077445

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Abstract

Synthesis of river-monitoring data reveals that the average annual discharge of fresh water from the six largest Eurasian rivers to the Arctic Ocean increased by 7% from 1936 to 1999. The average annual rate of increase was 2.0 ± 0.7 cubic kilometers per year. Consequently, average annual discharge from the six rivers is now about 128 cubic kilometers per year greater than it was when routine measurements of discharge began. Discharge was correlated with changes in both the North Atlantic Oscillation and global mean surface air temperature. The observed large-scale change in freshwater flux has potentially important implications for ocean circulation and climate.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: peterson{at}mbl.edu

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