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    Differentiating Snow and Glacier Melt Contribution to Runoff in the Gilgit River Basin via Degree-Day Modelling Approach

    Latif, Yasir and Ma, Yaoming and Ma, Weiqiang and Muhammad, Sher and Adnan, Muhammad and Yaseen, Muhammad and Fealy, Rowan (2020) Differentiating Snow and Glacier Melt Contribution to Runoff in the Gilgit River Basin via Degree-Day Modelling Approach. Atmosphere, 11 (10). p. 1023. ISSN 2073-4433

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    In contrast to widespread glacier retreat evidenced globally, glaciers in the Karakoram region have exhibited positive mass balances and general glacier stability over the past decade. Snow and glacier meltwater from the Karakoram and the western Himalayas, which supplies the Indus River Basin, provide an essential source of water to more than 215 million people, either directly, as potable water, or indirectly, through hydroelectric generation and irrigation for crops. This study focuses on water resources in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) which combines the ranges of the Hindukush,Karakoram and Himalaya (HKH). Specifically, we focus on the Gilgit River Basin (GRB) to inform more sustainable water use policy at the sub-basin scale. We employ two degree-day approaches, the Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) and Snowmelt Runoff Model (SRM), to simulate runoff in the GRB during 2001–2012. The performance of SRM was poor during July and August, the period when glacier melt contribution typically dominates runoff. Consequently, SPHY outperformed SRM, likely attributable to SPHY’s ability to discriminate between glacier, snow, and rainfall contributions to runoff during the ablation period. The average simulated runoff revealed the prevalent snowmelt contribution as 62%, followed by the glacier melt 28% and rainfall 10% in GRB. We also assessed the potential impact of climate change on future water resources, based on two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5). We estimate that summer flows are projected to increase by between 5.6% and 19.8% due to increased temperatures of between 0.7 and 2.6 ◦C over the period 2039–2070. If realized, increased summer flows in the region could prove beneficial for a range of sectors, but only over the short to medium term and if not associated with extreme events. Long-term projections indicate declining water resources in the region in terms of snow and glacier melt.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Cite as: Differentiating snow and glacier melt contribution to runoff in the gilgit river basin via degree-day modelling approach by Latif, Yasir; Ma, Yaoming; Ma, Weiqiang ; More... Atmosphere, 10/2020, Volume 11, Issue 10
    Keywords: Upper Indus Basin; Gilgit River Basin; snowmelt runoff; SPHY; glacier melt; SRM;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Research Institutes > National Centre for Geocomputation, NCG
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Maynooth University Social Sciences Institute, MUSSI
    Item ID: 15791
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Rowan Fealy
    Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2022 08:30
    Journal or Publication Title: Atmosphere
    Publisher: Gale Academic Onefile
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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