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Climatic and hydrological projections to changing climate under CORDEX-South Asia experiments over the Karakoram-Hindukush-Himalayan water towers


Azmat, Muhammad; Wahab, Aasia; Huggel, Christian; Qamar, Muhammad Uzair; Hussain, Ejaz; Ahmad, Shakil; Waheed, Abdul (2020). Climatic and hydrological projections to changing climate under CORDEX-South Asia experiments over the Karakoram-Hindukush-Himalayan water towers. Science of the Total Environment, 703:135010.

Abstract

The complex snow and glacier (cryosphere) dynamics over the “third pole” mountainous regions of the Karakoram-Hindukush-Himalayas (HKH) makes this region challenging for accurate hydrological predictions. The objective of this study is to investigate the impacts of climate change on major hydrological components (precipitation-runoff, snow- and glacier-runoff, evapotranspiration and inter-annual change in streamflows) over the Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, located in HKH. For this purpose, three different hydrological models (snowmelt runoff (SRM), HEC-HMS and HBV are tested over snow- and glacier-covered river basins. These are subsequently integrated with the climate projections simulated from regional climate models (RCMs) developed under CORDEX-SA experiments. The basin-wide RCM-simulations for future scenarios exhibited an increase in precipitation but decline in intensity of rise over high-altitude zones. The temperature rise showed a maximum increase during monsoon by 4.18 °C, 4.37 °C and 4.34 °C over Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, respectively, for the period 2071–2099 (2090s) and a high emission scenario (RCP8.5). Further, in response to rise in precipitation and temperature, the SRM simulations showed a significant increase in snow- glacier-melt runoff (49%, 42% and 46% for SRM) and precipitation runoff (23.8%, 15.7% and 27% for HEC-HMS) in the Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, respectively, for the 2090s under RCP8.5. The streamflow projections for SRM showed a shift in hydrological regime with an increase by 369 (168.4%), 216.5 (74.8%) and 131.8 m3/s (82%) during pre-monsoon in the Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, respectively and then decline by −73.2 m3/s (−13.9%) and −45.4 m3/s (23.4%) during monsoon of the 2090s, in the Hunza- and Astore-River basins, respectively, under RCP8.5. Overall, the projections show that the pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons are expected to be strongly influenced by climate change, through alterations in snow- and glacier-accumulation, and melt regimes with substantial consequences for river runoff in the region.

Abstract

The complex snow and glacier (cryosphere) dynamics over the “third pole” mountainous regions of the Karakoram-Hindukush-Himalayas (HKH) makes this region challenging for accurate hydrological predictions. The objective of this study is to investigate the impacts of climate change on major hydrological components (precipitation-runoff, snow- and glacier-runoff, evapotranspiration and inter-annual change in streamflows) over the Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, located in HKH. For this purpose, three different hydrological models (snowmelt runoff (SRM), HEC-HMS and HBV are tested over snow- and glacier-covered river basins. These are subsequently integrated with the climate projections simulated from regional climate models (RCMs) developed under CORDEX-SA experiments. The basin-wide RCM-simulations for future scenarios exhibited an increase in precipitation but decline in intensity of rise over high-altitude zones. The temperature rise showed a maximum increase during monsoon by 4.18 °C, 4.37 °C and 4.34 °C over Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, respectively, for the period 2071–2099 (2090s) and a high emission scenario (RCP8.5). Further, in response to rise in precipitation and temperature, the SRM simulations showed a significant increase in snow- glacier-melt runoff (49%, 42% and 46% for SRM) and precipitation runoff (23.8%, 15.7% and 27% for HEC-HMS) in the Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, respectively, for the 2090s under RCP8.5. The streamflow projections for SRM showed a shift in hydrological regime with an increase by 369 (168.4%), 216.5 (74.8%) and 131.8 m3/s (82%) during pre-monsoon in the Hunza-, Gilgit- and Astore-River basins, respectively and then decline by −73.2 m3/s (−13.9%) and −45.4 m3/s (23.4%) during monsoon of the 2090s, in the Hunza- and Astore-River basins, respectively, under RCP8.5. Overall, the projections show that the pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons are expected to be strongly influenced by climate change, through alterations in snow- and glacier-accumulation, and melt regimes with substantial consequences for river runoff in the region.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental Engineering, Waste Management and Disposal, Pollution, Environmental Chemistry
Language:English
Date:1 February 2020
Deposited On:08 Jan 2020 10:47
Last Modified:08 Jan 2020 10:47
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0048-9697
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135010

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