The arctic climate has high spatial variability, extreme conditions of solar radiation, and is characterized by both polar maritime and continental climates. Maritime conditions prevail over the Arctic Ocean, coastal Alaska, Iceland, northern Norway and adjoining parts of Russia, and result in cold winters and summer average temperatures of ~10 °C. Continental climates of the interior have more severe winters with lower precipitation, and while frost may occur year-round the average summer temperatures are >10 °C. Winter weather is dominated by the semipermanent Icelandic and Aleutian Low and the Siberian High pressure systems. These weaken in summer and weather patterns are governed by the movement of cyclones (low pressure) across Siberia and into the Arctic Basin, or cyclones generated locally along the arctic or polar fronts. The importance of these patterns for lakes is that first the location or origin of the air masses affects their moisture content, and second the passage of fronts strongly impacts mixing dynamics in lakes and runoff into lakes from storm events in summer.

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