We use a regionally coupled ocean-sea ice-atmosphere-hydrological discharge model to investigate the influence of changes in the atmospheric large-scale circulation on the interannual variability of the Arctic freshwater (FW) components. This model includes all sinks and sources of FW and allows for the analysis of a closed FW cycle in the Arctic. We show that few atmospheric winter modes explain large parts of the interannual variability of the Arctic FW cycle. A strong Icelandic low causing anomalous strong westerlies over the North Atlantic leads to warmer and wetter conditions over Eurasia. The ocean circulation is then characterized by a strong transpolar drift leading to increased export of FW in liquid and solid form into the North Atlantic. In contrast to this, a weaker than usual Icelandic low and a strong Siberian high is associated with a strong Beaufort Gyre and thus an accumulation of FW within the Arctic Ocean. Not only specific winter conditions but also increased precipitation in late spring and summer, caused by enhanced cyclone activity over land, lead to increased Eurasian runoff, which is responsible for most of the variability in Arctic river runoff.