Variability and Change in the Atmospheric Branch of the Arctic Hydrologic Cycle

  • Mark C. Serreze
  • Andrew P. Barrett
  • Andrew G. Slater

Water evaporated in low and middle latitudes is transported poleward via the atmospheric circulation. Through convergence and uplift, some of it condenses, and falls to the surface as precipitation. Further evaporation returns some of this water back to the atmosphere, which may again fall as precipitation. However, annual evaporation rates in high latitudes are in general modest. The end result is that most of the north polar region is characterized by positive net precipitation (precipitation minus evaporation, or P – E) in the annual mean (Fig. 14.1). Ultimately, this freshwater excess must be returned to lower latitudes via the ocean, with river discharge representing an intermediate step. In its broadest sense, the major features of the Arctic’s mean annual freshwater budget (Fig. 14.2) reflect this large-scale balance requirement.


Vortex Methane Migration Dioxide Convection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark C. Serreze
    • 1
  • Andrew P. Barrett
    • 1
  • Andrew G. Slater
    • 1
  1. 1.Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental SciencesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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