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Controls on Arctic glacier-fed river water temperature

Mellor, Christopher J.; Dugdale, Stephen J.; Garner, Grace; Milner, Alexander M.; Hannah, David M.


Christopher J. Mellor

Grace Garner

Alexander M. Milner

David M. Hannah


The impact of climate change on Arctic rivers is expected to be severe. There is therefore a need for greater understanding of Arctic river temperature processes. This study quantifies the spatio-temporal variability of water temperatures in the Kårsa River, Sweden. Water temperature was monitored over two summers within the main proglacial channel and within braids fed by different sources. Longitudinal and lateral temperature patterns were assessed in relation to prevailing hydro-meteorology. Temperature metrics in the main channel increased with distance downstream but were moderated by a large lake, while temperatures in the braids were dependent upon channel source. The high temperature standard deviation and inter-site differences within the braids highlight the importance of braided channels for creating thermal habitat heterogeneity. Temperatures were dependent on hydro-meteorological conditions, with sensitivity to air temperature maximized during cooler, rainy conditions. These results shed new light on Arctic river temperature patterns and their controlling processes.


Mellor, C. J., Dugdale, S. J., Garner, G., Milner, A. M., & Hannah, D. M. (2017). Controls on Arctic glacier-fed river water temperature. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62(4), 499-514.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 7, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 5, 2016
Publication Date Mar 12, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 4, 2018
Journal Hydrological Sciences Journal
Print ISSN 0262-6667
Electronic ISSN 2150-3435
Publisher Taylor & Francis Open
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue 4
Pages 499-514
Keywords River temperature, spatio-temporal variability, glacier, Arctic, lake, hydro-meteorology
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