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An evaluation of hydrometric monitoring across the Canadian pan-Arctic region, 1950–2008


This study evaluates the hydrometric monitoring maintained within the Canadian pan-Arctic and is based on the hydrometric gauges closest to northern seas for 76 river systems throughout 1950–2008. Monitoring is quantified by compiling time series of total gauged area and discharge values from the available hydrometric records. We further evaluate the quality of hydrometric data by examining the availability of hydrometric records, the continuity of individual records, and the influence of water regulation on river systems. The maximum gauged area of the Canadian pan-Arctic was 64% in 1990 before it slowly decreased to 56% in 2008. Larger river systems typically had the most hydrometric data available, though each river system had an average of 46% of their records available. In 1998, a maximum of 22 river systems had more than 30 years of continuous records, which is the maximum attained throughout the study period. For future improvements in hydrometric monitoring, additional gauges on relatively small rivers will need to be deployed. We suggest new gauges should be implemented in the Eastern Hudson Bay, Ungava Bay and Labrador Sea basins in spite of the tremendous need for more in the Arctic Archipelago.

Keywords: hydrological cycle, hydrometric monitoring, international polar year, northern Canada, pan-Arctic, river discharge

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