EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Role of snow for changes hydrological regimes in the Lena river basin

David Gustafsson1, Jude Musuuza1, Katharina Klemeth1, Denica Bozhinova1, Andrea Popp1, Liudmila Lebedeva2, and Tetsuya Hiyama3
David Gustafsson et al.
  • 1Swedish Meterological and Hydrological Institute, Norrköping, Sweden (
  • 2Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Yakutsk, Russian Federation
  • 3Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan

The study investigates the role of snow for the climate change impacts in hydrological regimes across the Lena river basin in Yakutia, Eastern Siberia using a hydrological model constrained by in-situ and satellite-based snow and river discharge observations. The river runoff observations in large and medium sized rivers show an increase over recent decades that can be associated with increasing air temperature and precipitation, as well as changes in snow, glaciers, and permafrost. We assessed the relation between changes in snow and streamflow using the satellite-based ESA CCI snow data and the hydrological model HYPE. The streamflow trend analysis showed a general pattern of increasing monthly mean and minimum stream flows from October to April, but more frequent in larger river basins, and especially if the last 20 years are included in the trend analysis. This can be explained by the increasing autumn precipitation, but the absence of change in annual maximum flow and streamflow in June also suggests relation to changes in the snow. The snow data shows a pattern of decreasing maximum snow water equivalent in the western part of the study area, and a corresponding decreasing trend of number of days with snow cover. These results are in line with the trends in observed streamflow; a short snow cover period (and increasing amount of autumn and winter rainfall, not shown here) as well as a lower maximum snow water equivalent could contribute both to the increasing winter runoff, and the absence of increasing streamflow in early summer. 

This work was conducted as part of the HYPE-ERAS project funded by FORMAS (project DNR: 2019-02332), RFBR (project No. 20-55-71005), and JST (Grant No. JPMJBF2003) through the Belmont Forum Collaborative Research Action: Resilience in the Rapidly Changing Arctic.

How to cite: Gustafsson, D., Musuuza, J., Klemeth, K., Bozhinova, D., Popp, A., Lebedeva, L., and Hiyama, T.: Role of snow for changes hydrological regimes in the Lena river basin, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-16000,, 2023.