Welcome to the 23rd Northern Research Basins Symposium (NRB23) 'Northern Hydrology in Transition'!

This event has passed and we want to thank everyone who contributed to the success of NRB23. The abstracts of all presentations and posters presented during the NRB23 can be accessed here.

Dates and venues:

The 23rd NRB will start on a Sunday, in the Krycklan catchment—globally, one of the most instrumented watersheds located in the boreal region not far from the Baltic Sea. On the second conference day, we will travel to the UNESCO biosphere reserve Vindelälven Juhttátahkka—one of Europe’s largest nature reserves (see map below).

Main Themes of NRB23:

  • impacts of global warming on the water cycle in northern environments, e.g., changes in the snowpack, glacier recession, permafrost thaw and wildfires 
  • land-use changes, e.g., mining, logging, dam building
  • long-term effects of past legacies and remediation strategies, e.g., peatland drainage/restoration
  • impacts of environmental changes on the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples

The 23rd NRB—“Northern Hydrology in Transition”—will provide an engaging conference experience with excursions, outdoor poster sessions and discussions on the status and future of northern hydrologic systems. The symposium aims to assemble scientists and stakeholders from all disciplines relevant to water cycle changes and associated biochemical cycling in high-latitude regions.

Joint Special Issue linked with NRB23 in The Cryosphere and HESS

Linked with the NRB23 theme “Northern Hydrology in Transition”, we are hosting an inter-journal Special Issue in the Open Access Copernicus Journals The Cryosphere (TC) and Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). This special issue aims to foster knowledge exchange across communities to gain a better understanding of coupled processes between the cryosphere, hydrology, ecosystems, and humans. We welcome all contributions on topics related to cold-region hydrology with a focus on inter- and transdisciplinary approaches and particularly invite contributions targeting the NRB23 themes.

The Special Issue will close in April 2024.

For questions, feel free to contact one of the guest editors: Laura Brown, David Gustafsson, Olga Makarieva, Andrea Popp, Gunhild Rosqvist, Ylva Sjöberg, Svetlana Stuefer, and Thom Bogaard.

For more information and to submit your  manuscript visit the TC (https://tc.copernicus.org/articles/special_issue1260.html) or HESS (https://hess.copernicus.org/articles/special_issue25_1260.html) website.

Map of the two conference locations: 1) Krycklan catchment and 2) UNESCO biosphere reserve

Part 1: Krycklan catchment

Illustration of the major field installations in the Krycklan catchment, including the stream and groundwater monitoring network, as well as the 150 m ICOS tower in the catchment center (Laudon et al., 2021; https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.14170)

Part 2: UNESCO biosphere reserve Vindelälven Juhttátahkka

UNESCO biosphere reserve vindelälven juhttátahkka, credit: Biosfärområde Vindelälven-Juhttátahkka

The history of NRB

In 1975, the International Hydrological Program (IHP) National Committees of Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)  established the IHP Working Group on Northern Research Basins, now called the “NRB Working Group” . In 1992, Iceland joined the group and Russia took over the responsibilities of the former USSR.  


The overall objective of the NRB Working Group is to encourage research in hydrological basins in cold regions where snow, ice and frozen ground have a dominant role in the hydrological cycle. 

Over the years, the objectives of the NRB Working Group have evolved to include the following:

  • Gain a better understanding of hydrological processes, particularly those in which snow, ice, and frozen ground have a major influence on the hydrological regime, and to determine the relative importance of each component of the water balance.
  • Provide data for the development and testing of transposable models which may be applied to regional, national, and international water and land resource programmes.
  • Relate hydrological processes to the chemical and biological evolution of northern basins.
  • Assess and predict the effect of human activities on the hydrological regime in northern environments.
  • Encourage the exchange of personnel (technicians, scientists, research officers, students, and others) among participating countries.
  • Provide information for the improvement and standardisation of measurement techniques and network design in northern regions.
  • Encourage exchange of information on a regular basis, and
  • Set up task forces to promote research initiatives on topics of special interest to northern research basins.

 Focus on Climate Warming

Since the NRB’s inception, climate warming has developed as a major scientific issue of direct importance to cold regions hydrology and water science throughout the circumpolar region. From the perspective of the Indigenous communities of cold regions, climate warming has introduced new and troubling uncertainties in regards to the future quantity and quality of water resources.  In recent years there is a growing realization that climate warming adaptation strategies are most successful if the communities directly affected play a leading role in their development and application. 

Local Organising Committee

This meeting is jointly organized by David Gustafsson (SMHI, david.gustafsson[at]smhi.se),  Andrea L. Popp (SMHI), Hjalmar Laudon (SLU) and Ninis Rosqvist (SU) in Sweden.
Note on the war in Ukraine: We, the Swedish organizers of the NRB, condemn the Russian attack on Ukraine. We are aware that many Russian scientists have spoken out against the war and/or are condemning it the same way we do. Current sanctions imposed by the Swedish government against Russia do not allow for on-site participation of Russian scientists. To foster scientific exchange within the Arctic science community, we will hold hybrid sessions where everyone will be able to participate.