First insight into the dynamics of non-glacial Arctic rivers – an update from the ECOFORS project

Four months after we first deployed our monitoring equipment in Iceland, we have now returned to collect our samples, download our first data, and ensure that the equipment is ready to withstand whatever the Arctic winter throws at it.Image

Thanks to the fantastic efforts of Hlynur Óskarsson and his team at the Agricultural University of Iceland, the data collection has proceeded trouble-free so far, and so we thought we would share some of the data with you to highlight the type of information that we are collecting. Below is a graph showing the start of some of the diurnal-seasonal cycles that we are observing in water temperature, total dissolved solids (dissolved substances that can give the river water a distinctive colour) and turbidity (a surrogate measurement of the river’s sediment levels). These data are supported by further measurements, not shown here, including meteorological data (precipitation, air temperature, wind speed/direction) and hydrological data (the volume of water passing through the river every minute), which combined are giving us the new insight into the characteristics of these types of Arctic rivers, which support diverse aquatic communities including valuable salmonid fish species.

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On our journey back from the Litla-Skard field site, we recorded this short video, shot from one of the World’s most productive natural thermal springs – Deildartunguhver – an impressive feature that is used to heat homes in the local towns and villages, in addition to heating greenhouses to make it possible to grow tomatoes in the Arctic!

We will update you on the Litla-Skard data collection when more data become available, and next time we will be able to include the hydrological and meteorological data so the story will become clearer.

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