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  1. Abstract. This study investigates and compares soil moisture andhydrology projections of broadly used land models with permafrost processesand highlights the causes and impacts of permafrost zone soil moistureprojections. Climate models project warmer temperatures and increases inprecipitation (P) which will intensify evapotranspiration (ET) and runoff inland models. However, this study shows that most models project a long-termdrying of the surface soil (0–20 cm) for the permafrost region despiteincreases in the net air–surface water flux (P-ET). Drying is generallyexplained by infiltration of moisture to deeper soil layers as the activelayer deepens or permafrost thaws completely. Although most models agree ondrying, the projections vary strongly in magnitude and spatial pattern.Land models tend to agree with decadal runoff trends but underestimaterunoff volume when compared to gauge data across the major Arctic riverbasins, potentially indicating model structural limitations. Coordinatedefforts to address the ongoing challenges presented in this study will helpreduce uncertainty in our capability to predict the future Arctichydrological state and associated land–atmosphere biogeochemical processesacross spatial and temporal scales.