Massive northern rivers transport huge quantities of freshwater, carbon, and other compounds from the continents to the Arctic Ocean. The overarching scientific rationale for the Arctic Great Rivers Observatory (Arctic-GRO) is that large river hydrology and chemistry can be used to assess changes in fluxes that signal regional and pan-arctic change on the continents and that subsequently impact coastal and ocean chemistry, biology, and circulation. The watersheds of the six Arctic-GRO rivers are among the largest on Earth and combined cover 11,400,000 km2, more than half of the area that drains into the Arctic Ocean. Given that the biogeochemistry of rivers integrates processes occurring throughout their watersheds, Arctic-GRO?s systematic sampling of the downstream reaches of the Ob?, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma rivers in Siberia, and the Yukon and Mackenzie rivers in North America, provides a superb means for assessing environmental change in the Arctic.
A variety of activities will be pursued to ensure that Arctic-GRO has substantial broader impacts. These activities will include 1) the maintenance and enhancement of a project website, www.arcticgreatrivers.org, 2) the production and widespread distribution of two multimedia videos about Arctic-GRO and the Arctic Observing Network, 3) an exchange between indigenous people in the Yukon and Lena river watersheds, in partnership with the Yukon River Inter-tribal Watershed Council, and 4) the expansion of a traveling art exhibition that tells the story of climate change and its impact in the Arctic, featuring artwork done by indigenous children from the Siberian and North American Arctic.