Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 689–710, 2018

Special issue: Hydrometeorological data from mountain and alpine research...

Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 10, 689–710, 2018

Review article 04 Apr 2018

Review article | 04 Apr 2018

Water balance and hydrology research in a mountainous permafrost watershed in upland streams of the Kolyma River, Russia: a database from the Kolyma Water-Balance Station, 1948–1997

Olga Makarieva1,2,3,4, Nataliia Nesterova3,4, Lyudmila Lebedeva2, and Sergey Sushansky5,* Olga Makarieva et al.
  • 1Gidrotehproekt Ltd, St. Petersburg, 199178, Russia
  • 2Melnikov Permafrost Institute, Merzlotnaya st., 36, Yakutsk 677010, Russia
  • 3Saint Petersburg State University, Institute of Earth Sciences, 7/9 Universitetskaya nab, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia
  • 4State Hydrological Institute, Department of Experimental Hydrology and Mathematical Modelling of Hydrological Processes, 23 2-ya liniya VO, St. Petersburg, 199053, Russia
  • 5Kolyma Department of Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring, 7/13 Parkovaya st., Magadan, 685000, Russia
  • *retired

Abstract. In 2018, 70 years have passed since the beginning of observations at the Kolyma Water-Balance Station (KWBS), a unique scientific research hydrological and permafrost catchment. The volume and duration (50 continuous years) of hydrometeorological standard and experimental data, characterizing the natural conditions and processes occurring in mountainous permafrost conditions, significantly exceed any counterparts elsewhere in the world. The data are representative of mountainous territory of the North-East of Russia. In 1997, the station was terminated, thereby leaving Russia without operating research watersheds in the permafrost zone. This paper describes the dataset containing the series of daily runoff from 10 watersheds with an area from 0.27 to 21.3 km2, precipitation, meteorological observations, evaporation from soil and snow, snow surveys, soil thaw and freeze depths, and soil temperature for the period 1948–1997. It also highlights the main historical stages of the station's existence, its work and scientific significance, and outlines the prospects for its future, where the Kolyma Water-Balance Station could be restored to the status of a scientific research watershed and become a valuable international centre for hydrological research in permafrost. The data are available at

Short summary
This article describes the dataset of the Kolyma Water-Balance Station located at the upstreams of the Kolyma River (Russia). The dataset combines continuous long-term (1948–1997) observations of water balance, hydrological processes, and permafrost. It allows for study of permafrost hydrology interaction processes in a practically unexplored region. We highlight the main historical stages of the station's existence and its scientific significance, and outline the prospects for its future.