Numerical simulation of the Lena River estuary dynamics


The Lena River is one of the largest rivers in the Arctic and has the largest delta. The mean annual runoff volume of the Lena River from 1935 to 2014 was about 539 km3. Water mass characteristics at the Lena River basin outlet are particularly important for dynamics of the Laptev Sea and the Arctic Ocean as a whole. Observational data available for the Lena River suggest an on-going change in climate and biological factors over the last 50 years. Given the large territory of the Lena Delta, the direct measurements are by far insufficient, calling for a modeling approach. However, mostly all models, which include the Laptev Sea shelf zone, do not resolve the Lena Delta and as a consequence lose information about Lena river stream changes using input data with insufficient quality.

Domain of interest

(Video by Vera Fofonova)

At the current stage we are working on the hydrodynamics model for the Lena Delta region. In frame of the current work available hydrological information for the Lena River lower reaches was collected, analyzed and used for the model verification. The developed hydrodynamics model provides the first necessary step for the further modeling efforts in the area. It also gives an input for the larger scale models resolving hydrodynamics of more than twenty main Lena River freshwater channels with a turning on wetting/drying option.

BMBF grant

To intensify the joint Russian-German activity in the Lena Delta area, we sent an application to BMBF  in 2014 to organize a series of collaborative workshops intending to stimulate and focus the collaborations among communities of leading experts in Russia and in Germany. The workshops are aimed at young participants, graduate and postgraduate students to facilitate their collaborations with well-established scientists whose expertise lies in the fields of coastal and estuary ecology, ecosystem population modeling, hydrometeorology, hydromechanics and numerical mathematics.

Summary of goals and  efforts in frame of current BMBF grant:

  1. Bring together the researchers dealing with the Lena Delta region, and combine the available observational databases (in total we have 14 partner Institutes from Germany and Russia)
  2. Intensify the cooperation with Russian colleges from Siberia
  3. Develop numerical modules for the Lena Delta region which will and provide the input information for the larger-scale regional models of the Laptev Sea shelf. The set will include the modules for area hydrodynamics, transport of organic and inorganic matters and ecosystem dynamics
  4. Implement hydrodynamics and transport modules in the existing regional models of the Laptev Sea area developed at AWI and at ICMMG SB RAS 
  5. Bridge the gap between ecosystem in the Lena Delta and on the Laptev Sea shelf
  6. Analyze the dynamics of processes in the Lena Delta on a new interdisciplinary level

Working group

Dr. Vera Fofonova

Prof. Dr. Karen Helen Wiltshire

Dr. Elena Golubeva, ICMMG SB RAS, Novosibirsk

Dr. Alexandra Krarberg

Serge Folly Tomety

Dr. Vadym Aizinger, FAU, Erlangen

Yik Keung Ying , FAU, Erlangen

Igor Zhilyaev, MMSC SFEDU, Rostov-on-Don

Marina Krayneva, ICMMG SB RAS, Novosibirsk

Dr. Birgit Heim

Dr. Nikita Tananaev, IGL MPI SBRAS, Igarka