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Prediction of hydrological regime of the snow fed and glaciarised Upper Indus Basin under climate change

  • 15 December, 2017
  • IHE Delft, Water Resources and Ecosystems
  • Prof.dr.M.E. McClain
  • Dr. S. Maskey

The 167000 km2 Upper Indus Basin (UIB) is composed of mountainous terrains of the Hindu Kush, Karakorum and Himalayan (HKH) mountain ranges. The basin provides water for the world’s largest contiguous irrigation scheme in Pakistan through several large reservoirs which depend for more than 50% of their annual inflow on snow and glacier melt water. The basin is already water scarce, yet the demand for water continues to grow rapidly putting further stress on the resource owing to rapidly changing demographics and climatic conditions. The magnitude and distribution of high altitude hydro-metrological data in general and temperature and precipitation specifically, are among its largest unknowns. Additionally, much of the present understanding of the climate, hydrology, and glaciers of these mountains is based on a few analyses with very limited data, leading to very serious concerns in the current and future water resources management. So there is a persistent need to develop and improve the quantification of precipitation at high-altitude, preferably at large spatial and temporal scale. Moreover, modelling snow and glacier melt and their contribution to the runoff processes and under climate changing scenarios is quite essential for domestic water supply, flood forecasting and hydropower productions.

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Aftab Nazeer

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