Changes to freshwater systems affecting Arctic infrastructure and natural resources

Arne Instanes*, Vasily Kokorev, Richard Janowicz, Oddbjørn Bruland, Knut Sand, Terry Prowse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


The resources component of the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis focuses on the potential impact of future climate and change on water resources in the Arctic and how Arctic infrastructure and exploration and production of natural resources are affected. Freshwater availability may increase in the Arctic in the future in response to an increase in middle- and high-latitude annual precipitation. Changes in type of precipitation, its seasonal distribution, timing, and rate of snowmelt represent a challenge to municipalities and transportation networks subjected to flooding and droughts and to current industries and future industrial development. A reliable well-distributed water source is essential for all infrastructures, industrial development, and other sectorial uses in the Arctic. Fluctuations in water supply and seasonal precipitation and temperature may represent not only opportunities but also threats to water quantity and quality for Arctic communities and industrial use. The impact of future climate change is varying depending on the geographical area and the current state of infrastructure and industrial development. This paper provides a summary of our current knowledge related to the system function and key physical processes affecting northern water resources, industry, and other sectorial infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-585
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of geophysical research: Biogeosciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Arctic
  • freshwater
  • industry
  • infrastructure
  • resources


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