Climate-Induced Extreme Hydrologic Events in the Arctic

Abstract

The objectives were (i) to evaluate the relationship between recent climate change and extreme hydrological events and (ii) to characterize the behavior of hydrological events along the Alazeya River. The warming rate of air temperature observed at the meteorological station in Chersky was 0.0472 ◦C·year−1, and an extraordinary increase in air temperatures was observed in 2007. However, data from meteorological stations are somewhat limited in sparsely populated regions. Therefore, this study employed historical remote sensing data for supplementary information. The time-series analysis of the area-averaged Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) precipitation showed a positive trend because warming leads to an increase in the water vapor content in the atmosphere. In particular, heavy precipitation of 459 ± 113 mm was observed in 2006. On the other hand, the second-highest summer National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Advanced Very High Resolution radiometer (AVHRR) brightness temperature (BT) was observed in 2007 when the highest air temperature was observed in Chersky, and the anomaly from normal revealed that the summer AVHRR BTs showed mostly positive values. Conversely, riverbank, lakeshore and seashore areas were much cooler due to the formation, expansion and drainage of lakes and/or the increase in water level by heavy precipitation and melting of frozen ground. The large lake drainage resulted in a flood. Although the flooding was triggered by the thermal erosion along the riverbanks and lakeshores—itself induced by the heat wave in 2007—the increase in soil water content due to the heavy precipitation in 2006 appeared to contribute the magnitude of flood. The flood was characterized by the low streamflow velocity because the Kolyma Lowlands had a very gentle gradient. Therefore, the flood continued for a long time over large areas. Information based on remote sensing data gave basic insights for understanding the mechanism and behavior of climate-induced extreme hydrologic events.

DOI: 10.3390/rs8110971

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Cite this paper

@article{Sakai2016ClimateInducedEH, title={Climate-Induced Extreme Hydrologic Events in the Arctic}, author={Toru Sakai and Tsuneo Matsunaga and Shamil Maksyutov and Semen Gotovtsev and Leonid Gagarin and Tetsuya Hiyama and Yasushi Yamaguchi}, journal={Remote Sensing}, year={2016}, volume={8}, pages={971} }