Controls on Arctic glacier-fed river water temperature

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
249 Downloads (Pure)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Early online date5 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2016


  • Arctic
  • glacier
  • hydro-meteorology
  • lake
  • River temperature
  • spatio-temporal variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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