Climatic Change

, Volume 141, Issue 3, pp 499–515 | Cite as

Climate change impact on the water regime of two great Arctic rivers: modeling and uncertainty issues

  • Alexander Gelfan
  • David Gustafsson
  • Yury Motovilov
  • Berit Arheimer
  • Andrey Kalugin
  • Inna Krylenko
  • Alexander Lavrenov


The ECOlogical Model for Applied Geophysics (ECOMAG) and the HYdrological Predictions for the Environment (HYPE) process-based hydrological models were set up to assess possible impacts of climate change on the hydrological regime of two pan-Arctic great drainage basins of the Lena and the Mackenzie Rivers. We firstly assessed the reliability of the hydrological models to reproduce the historical streamflow series and analyzed the hydrological projections driven by the climate change scenarios. The impacts were assessed for three 30-year periods (early- (2006–2035), mid- (2036–2065), and end-century (2070–2099)) using an ensemble of five global climate models (GCMs) and four Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios. Results show, particularly, that the basins react with a multi-year delay to changes in RCP2.6, so-called “mitigation” scenario, and consequently to the potential mitigation measures. Then, we assessed the hydrological projections’ variability, which is caused by the GCM’s and RCP’s uncertainties, and found that the variability rises with the time horizon of the projection, and generally, the projection variability is larger for the Mackenzie than for the Lena. We finally compared the mean annual runoff anomalies projected under the GCM-based data for the twenty-first century with the corresponding anomalies projected under a modified observed climatology using the delta-change method in the Lena basin. We found that the compared projections are closely correlated for the early-century period. Thus, for the Lena basin, the modified observed climatology can be used as driving force for hydrological model-based projections and considered as an alternative to the GCM-based scenarios.


Hydrological Model Representative Concentration Pathway Hydrological Response Representative Concentration Pathway Scenario Lena Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are very grateful to Guest Editor (Dr. Krysanova) and three anonymous reviewers for their critical and constructive comments. Also, we would like to thank Dr. Pechlivanidis for his valuable suggestions concerning the earliest draft and all ISI-MIP2 project partners who contributed to this study. The presented research of the ECOMAG-team related to the Lena River hydrological modeling was financially supported by the Russian Science Foundation (grant no. 14-17-00700). Part of the ECOMAG team research related to the Mackenzie River hydrological modeling was financially supported by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science (grant no. 14.B25.31.0026). The HYPE modeling was based on the Arctic-HYPE, which is developed within the WMO collaboration of Arctic-HYCOS. Results of the entire Arctic are presented at We would like to recognize the initial work done by Kristina Isberg and Dr. Yeshewa Hundecha at SMHI to facilitate the present study.

The present work was carried out within the framework of the Panta Rhei Research Initiative of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS).

Supplementary material

10584_2016_1710_MOESM1_ESM.doc (679 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 679 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Gelfan
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Gustafsson
    • 3
  • Yury Motovilov
    • 1
    • 2
  • Berit Arheimer
    • 3
  • Andrey Kalugin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Inna Krylenko
    • 1
    • 4
  • Alexander Lavrenov
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Problems Institute of RASMoscowRussia
  2. 2.P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of RASMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological InstituteNorrköpingSweden
  4. 4.Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of GeographyMoscowRussia

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