A Regional, Hydrometeorological Data Network
For the pan-Arctic Region



Establish and test a prototype version of a World-Wide Web-based, regional hydrometeorological data bank (R-ArcticNET v2.0) to support pan-Arctic hydrological sciences and water resource assessment in the Arctic regions.


With the potential sensitivity of Arctic Sea Ice formation to inputs from the terrestrial land surface there is a need to provide the Arctic scientific community with time series of river discharge data.

This data set will provide a baseline against which Arctic system scientists can compare simulation results and which can provide a boundary condition for Ocean circulation models

There is also an important need to inventory and make available data for water resources assessments in the context of deteriorating monitoring networks.

The assembly and use of such hydromet data consolidates ongoing computerized data bank activities including the Global River Discharge Database (RivDIS 1.0) published recently by UNESCO as part of the Technical Documents in Hydrology series and the forthcoming Arctic River Discharge Database developed at the University of New Hampshire and to be released on CD-ROM by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, CO

Interactions within the regional scientific community via WWW-connectivity are necessary to promote state-of-the-art science in this area of the world.

Pan-Arctic Project:

The Pan-Arctic Project is a multi-disciplinary NSF-funded project carried out at the following organizations:

Water Systems Analysis Group, University of New Hampshire, USA

Marine Biological Lab, USA

State Hydrological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia

University of Delaware, USA

University of Colorado, USA

The goals of the project are to estimate the contemporary water and constituent balances for the pan-Arctic drainage system. The pan-Arctic drainage system encompasses all terrestrial land area draining into the Arctic Ocean as well as the land mass draining into Hudson Bay, James Bay in Canada and the northern Bering Sea which includes the Yukon River in Alaska and the Anadyr River in Russia. This represents a land area of approximately 21 million km2.

The first half of the project has been devoted to the hydrological cycle. A primary focus of that has been to develop a river discharge database for the entire Pan-Arctic region. Our concentration has been on coarse scale modeling with a grid cell resolution of 30' x 30' (latitude x longitude). As result we were mainly interested in drainage basins greater than 15,000 km2. However, for Canada and Russia we collected all available river gauges irrespective of size. For the purposes of continental and global scale modeling, it is the gauges for large drainage areas which will be of greatest interest in the regional, continental and global-scale scientific community.

1. Collection Overview

Collection Contents:

R-ArcticNET Version 2.0 of the data bank contains the comprehensive river discharge database with over 3700 gauges covering the entire pan-Arctic drainage system. The pan-Arctic drainage region is defined as the entire land area draining into the Arctic Ocean as well as Hudson Bay, James Bay and the Northern Bering Strait which includes the Yukon and Anadyr Rivers.

Related Data Collections:

University of New Hampshire, Water Systems Analysis Group, Global gridded river network at 30 minute grid resolution (STN-30p):


University of Delaware, Global Climate Resources, monthly air temperature and precipitation time series and climatologies for the pan-Arctic region:



Richard B. Lammers

Water Systems Analysis Group, University of New Hampshire (Durham NH, USA)

Alexander Shiklomanov

Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (St. Petersburg, Russia) and University of New Hasmpshire

Charles J. Vorosmarty

Water Systems Analysis Group, University of New Hampshire (Durham NH, USA)

Bruce Peterson

Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole MA, USA)

Igor Shiklomanov

State Hydrological Institute (St. Petersburg, Russia)

This web site has been developed and maintained the Investigators and by:

Stanley Glidden (GIS, Format, Design and Layout)

Allan Wright (Programming Support)

Michael Routhier (GIS, Format, Design and Layout for R-ArcticNET v1.0)

2. Applications and Derivation

Data Sources and Processing Details:


USGS data was obtained from the WWWeb (HCDN) or received by ftp from USGS offices in Alaska (AK data) in the USGS format. Data were extracted from these files and converted to metric units consistent with the other data sets.

Data for Alaska were supplied by David F Meyer (dfmeyer@usgs.gov) a USGS hydrologist in Anchorage, AK. Prior to 1965, the data were published in USGS Water Supply Papers Wells and Love [1957], Hendricks [1964] and U.S. Geological Survey [1971]. Since 1965, the data have been published annually [U.S. Geological Survey, 1967-1996]. Gauges for drainage basins outside of the Pan-Arctic region (such as the southern coast of Alaska) were removed.

Data for the US Midwest were obtained from the Hydro-Climatic Data network (HCDN) by Slack et al. [1993] - http://wwwrvares.er.usgs.gov:80/hcdn_cdrom/region09.html. Only gauges for drainage areas greater than 15,000 km2 were collected.


The source of the Canadian data was HYDAT - Environment Canada CD-ROM from EarthInfo Inc. Version 4.93 Surface Water and Sediment Data, Atmosphere Environment Service. Monthly data for all gauges were pulled off the CD-ROM and all US gauges and non-Pan-Arctic gauges were removed from the database.

Russia and other Eurasian Countries:

The original data archive was originally collected by the Department for River Runoff and Water Management Problems in the State Hydrological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia. This covered the period up to 1985 although there were a large number of missing values. All available gauges for the Russian pan-Arctic region were collected. As part of Pan-Arctic project, the State Hydrological Institute (SHI) updated the river discharge time series to 1990 and filled in many of the missing values.

The data from other Eurasian countries, Finland, Iceland, Mongolia and Norway, were supplied by the SHI. These data were collected from the Global Water and Water Use Archive developed by the Laboratory of Water Resources and Water Balance at SHI. Data for these Eurasian countries were collected for gauges from drainage basins having drainage areas greater than 1000 km2.

Data supplied by

Igor Shiklomanov (ishiklom@sovam.com)
The State Hydrological Institute
23, Second Line, V.O.
St. Petersburg, 199053

Phone (in Russia): (812) 213-3517
Fax (in Russia): (812) 213-1028

Final Assembly:

All data were combined in a common, uniform data base using Microsoft Access. Data were stored as three tables:

Site Attributes

Discharge - Horizontal Format

Discharge - Vertical Format

The Site Attribute table included information on the gauge name, the original Code number assigned by the source agency, drainage area, latitude and longitude, and the source of the data. Except for minor spelling adjustments, the spelling of the Russian station names were left as received from SHI.

A unique identification number (PointID) was assigned to each gauge to prevent potential overlap in the code numbers. Due to the coding used by the three countries, there was no overlap since Russia uses a 4-5 digit numeric code, the USGS uses an 8 or 15 digit numeric code and a 7 digit alpha-numeric code is used in Canada. The unique identification numbers have been retained as some software requires a numeric field for indexing. Therefore both PointID and Code are unique identifiers for the gauges.


Richard Lammers, Water Systems Analysis Group, University of New Hampshire (UNH), constructed the initial database, made data modifications and updates. Alexander Shiklomanov, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, St. Petersburg and UNH, assisted in the initial data processing and later took control of the database. He was responsible for adding new stations, updating existing gauges and correcting errors. This was an ongoing process as more Russian data became available in digital form. Control was returned to Richard Lammers for final data processing, generation of hydrographs and preparation of the WWWeb pages and CD-ROM.

HTML coding and CD-ROM preparation were developed by Allan Wright, Research Computing Center, UNH. Graphics and database coding for the web pages and CD-ROM were developed by Stanley Glidden, Water Systems Analysis Group, UNH.

Digitizing of the Russian discharge data at SHI was conducted by Elena Zaitseva and Tanya Molchanova

Igor Shiklomanov, State Hydrological Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia, supplied all Eurasian data for this project.

Robert Morris, Environment Canada, was instrumental in securing permissions to allow the Canadian data to be placed on the WWWeb and CD-ROM.

3. Data Format and Characteristics


The total number of gauges given in R-ArcticNET v2.0 is 3713. The following table shows a list of the number of gauges divided by data source.

Source Number of Gauges
AK 32
Hydat 2164
SHI 1515
Total 3713

The total number of gauges by hydrological zone are given in the following table.

Hydrological Zone Number of Gauges
Anadyr Kolyma 81
Lena 199
Mackenzie 500
Nelson 1319
North European Russia 319
Northwest Hudson Bay 99
Ob 603
Scandinavia 15
South and East Hudson Bay 183
Yenisei 299
Yukon 96
Total 3713

Data Access

The data can be found on the Internet at http://www.R-ArcticNET.sr.unh.edu

Study Area and Spatio-temporal coverage

The area of coverage for this data set includes all terrestrial land area draining into the Arctic Ocean, as well as the drainage regions of Hudson Bay and the northern Bering Strait. Temporally, the data set contains monthly river data with holdings extending from prior to 1900 (for four Canadian and five Russian gauges) until the early 1990s. The length of record for individual gauges is extremely variable and the majority of data occurs between 1960 and 1990.

4. Funding Agencies:

National Science Foundation - Office of Polar Programs

NASA - Earth Observing System

Department of Energy

5. References

Hendricks, E.L., 1964, Compilation of records of surface waters of Alaska, October 1950 to September 1960: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1740, 86 p.

Slack, J.R., Alan M. Lumb, and Jurate Maciunas Landwehr, 1993, HCDN: Streamflow Data Set, 1874 - 1988, USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 93-4076.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1971, Surface water supply of the United States 1961-65, Part 15. Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1936, 342 p.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1967-1996, Water resources data for Alaska, water years 1966-1995: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report AK 66-1 to AK 95-1(published annually).

Wells, J.V.B., and Love, S.K., 1957, Compilation of records of surface waters of Alaska through September 1950: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1372, 262 p.

U.S. Geological Survey, 1967-1996, Water resources data for Alaska, water years 1966-1995: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Data Report AK 66-1 to AK 95-1 (published annually).