Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (2): 346-357.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.02.13

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Surface runoff changes and their causes in the Russian pan-Arctic Region

WANG Guan1,2, CHEN Hanru3, WANG Ping1(), WANG Tianye1,2, YU Jingjie1,2, LIU Changming1, YANG Linsheng4   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. College of Resource Environment and Tourism, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
    4. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2019-10-10 Revised:2019-12-15 Online:2020-02-25 Published:2020-04-25
  • Contact: WANG Ping


Using the surface runoff data from the Global Runoff Data Base (GRDB) and the Arctic Great Rivers Observatory (ArcticGRO), this study analyzed the surface runoff variation characteristics of the six major river basins in the pan-Arctic region of Russia since 1930, and summarized the impacts of climate change and human activities on the surface runoff. The results provide a theoretical basis to further the scientific understanding of the runoff changes in the Arctic region of Russia under the background of climate change and increasing human activities, and for the rational development and utilization of water resources in the region. The results show that the annual runoff of the Severnaja Dvina, Pechora, Ob, Yenisei, Lena, and Kolyma Rivers increased at a rate of 1.53 m 3/s, 7.27 m 3/s, 15.37 m 3/s, 19.59 m 3/s, 38.41 m 3/s, and 21.15 m 3/s, respectively. The seasonal distribution characteristics of runoff are characterized by a decrease in flood peak flow during spring and summer, and an increase in runoff during winter. Seasonal distribution of surface runoff tended to be more even during the year. The change in annual runoff is mainly affected by climate change. In contrast, human activities have little effect on annual runoff in most areas. The two dominant factors, climate change and human activities, jointly drive the change in the annual distribution of runoff. Annual runoff of these rivers has increased as a result of global warming, while the annual distribution of runoff tends to be uniform under the combined effects of climate change and human activities.

Key words: surface runoff, climate change, human activities, pan-Arctic region, Russia