Arctic and sub-arctic watersheds are undergoing significant changes due to recent climate warming and degrading permafrost, engendering enhanced monitoring of arctic rivers. Smaller catchments provide understanding of discharge, solute flux and groundwater recharge at the process level that contributes to an understanding of how larger arctic watersheds are responding to climate change. The North Klondike River, located in west central Yukon, is a sub-alpine permafrost catchment, which maintains an active hydrological monitoring station with a record of >40 years. In addition to being able to monitor intra-annual variability, this data set allows for more complex analysis of streamflow records. Streamflow data, geochemistry and stable isotope data for 2014 show a groundwater-dominated system, predominantly recharged during periods of snowmelt. Radiocarbon is shown to be a valuable tracer of soil zone recharge processes and carbon sources. Winter groundwater baseflow contributes 20 % of total annual discharge, and accounts for up to 50 % of total river discharge during the spring and summer months. Although total stream discharge remains unchanged, mean annual groundwater baseflow has increased over the 40-year monitoring period. Wavelet analysis reveals a catchment that responds to El Niño and longer solar cycles, as well as climatic shifts such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Dedicated to Professor Peter Fritz on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Carbon-13, carbon-14, catchment, groundwater, hydrogen-2, hydrogen-3, isotope hydrology, North Klondike River, oxygen-18, sub-alpine permafrost, water balance
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/10256016.2017.1355795
Journal Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies
Citation
Lapp, A. (Anthony), Clark, I. (Ian), Macumber, A. (Andrew), & Patterson, T. (2017). Hydrology of the North Klondike River: carbon export, water balance and inter-annual climate influences within a sub-alpine permafrost catchment. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 1–18. doi:10.1080/10256016.2017.1355795