The hydrological cycle of the Arctic river basin holds an important position in the Earth’s system, which has been significantly disturbed by global warming. This study analyzed recent changes in the hydrological components of two representative Arctic river basins in Siberia and North America, the Lena River Basin (LRB) and Mackenzie River Basin (MRB), respectively. The trends were diagnosed in hydrological components through a comparative analysis and estimations based on remote sensing and observational datasets during 2003–2016. The results showed that the annual precipitation decreased at rates of 1.9 mm/10a and 18.8 mm/10a in the MRB and LRB, respectively. In contrast, evapotranspiration (ET) showed increasing trends, with rates of 9.5 mm/10a and 6.3 mm/10a in the MRB and LRB, respectively. Terrestrial water storage (TWS) was obviously decreased, with rates of 30.3 mm/a and 18.9 mm/a in the MRB and LRB, respectively, which indicated that more freshwater was released. Contradictive trends of the runoffs were found in the two basins, which were increased in the LRB and decreased in the MRB, due to the contributions of the surface water and base flow. In addition, the mean annual cycles of precipitation, ET, TWS, runoff depth, surface flow and base flow behaved differently in both magnitudes and distributions in the LRB and MRB, the trends of which will likely continue with the pronounced warming climate. The current case studies can help to understand the recent changes in the Arctic hydro-climatology and the consequence of global warming in Arctic river basins.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited