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Title: Recent changes to Arctic river discharge

Arctic rivers drain ~15% of the global land surface and significantly influence local communities and economies, freshwater and marine ecosystems, and global climate. However, trusted and public knowledge of pan-Arctic rivers is inadequate, especially for small rivers and across Eurasia, inhibiting understanding of the Arctic response to climate change. Here, we calculate daily streamflow in 486,493 pan-Arctic river reaches from 1984-2018 by assimilating 9.18 million river discharge estimates made from 155,710 satellite images into hydrologic model simulations. We reveal larger and more heterogenous total water export (3-17% greater) and water export acceleration (factor of 1.2-3.3 larger) than previously reported, with substantial differences across basins, ecoregions, stream orders, human regulation, and permafrost regimes. We also find significant changes in the spring freshet and summer stream intermittency. Ultimately, our results represent an updated, publicly available, and more accurate daily understanding of Arctic rivers uniquely enabled by recent advances in hydrologic modeling and remote sensing.

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Nature Communications
Nature Publishing Group
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National Science Foundation
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