Suspended-sediment and fresh-water discharges in the Ob and Yenisey rivers, 1960–1988
Of the world's great rivers, the Ob and Yenisey rank among the largest suppliers of fresh water and among the smallest suppliers of suspended sediment to the coastal ocean. Sediment in the middle reaches of the rivers is mobilized from bordering terraces and exchanged between channels and flood plains. Sediment in the lower reaches of these great rivers is deposited and stored (permanently, on a millennial time scale) in flood plains. Sediment discharges, already small under natural conditions, are diminished further by large manmade reservoirs that trap significant proportions of the moving solids. The long winter freeze and sudden spring breakup impose a peakedness in seasonal water runoff and sediment discharge that contrasts markedly with that in rivers of the tropics and more temperate climates. Very little sediment from the Ob and Yenisey rivers is being transported to the open waters of the Arctic Ocean under present conditions.