Cryospheric Impacts of Soviet River Diversion Schemes

T. Holt, P. M. Kelly, B. S. G. Cherry
1984 Annals of Glaciology  
Soviet plans to divert water from rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean have led to research into the impact of a reduction in discharge on Arctic sea ice. We consider the mechanisms by which discharge reductions might affect sea-ice cover and then test various hypotheses related to these mechanisms. We find several large areas over which sea-ice concentration correlates significantly with variations in river discharge, supporting two particular hypotheses. The first hypothesis concerns the area
more » ... s concerns the area where the initial impacts are likely to which is the Kara Sea. Reduced riverflow is associated occur, with decreased sea-ice concentration in October, at the time of ice formation. This is believed to be the result of decreased freshening of the surface layer. The second hypothesis concerns possible effects on the large-scale current system of the Arctic Ocean and, in particular, on the inflow of Atlantic and Pacific water. These effects occur as a result of changes in the strength of northward-flowing gradient currents associated with variations in river discharge. Although it is still not certain that substantial transfers of riverflow will take place, it is concluded that the possibility of significant cryospheric effects and, hence, large-scale climate impact should not be neglected.
doi:10.1017/s0260305500003505 fatcat:rdg54ems3rdy7jdkyyw3czqbku