Future Water Availability from Hindukush-Karakoram-Himalaya Upper Indus Basin under Conflicting Climate Change Scenarios (2016)

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Future of the crucial Himalayan water supplies has generally been assessed under the anthropogenic warming, typically consistent amid observations and climate model projections. However, conflicting mid-to-late melt-season cooling within the upper Indus basin (UIB) suggests that the future of its melt-dominated hydrological regime and the subsequent water availability under changing climate has yet been understood only indistinctly. Here, the future water availability from the UIB is presented under both observed and projected—though likely but contrasting—climate change scenarios. Continuation of prevailing climatic changes suggests decreased and delayed glacier melt but increased and early snowmelt, leading to reduction in the overall water availability and profound changes in the overall seasonality of the hydrological regime. Hence, initial increases in the water availability due to enhanced glacier melt under typically projected warmer climates, and then abrupt decrease upon vanishing of the glaciers, as reported earlier, is only true given the UIB starts following uniformly the global warming signal. Such discordant future water availability findings caution the impact assessment communities to consider the relevance of likely (near-future) climate change scenarios—consistent to prevalent climatic change patterns—in order to adequately support the water resource planning in Pakistan.
Year: 2016
Language: English
In: Climate, 4 (3): 40-40 p.

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 Record created 2018-08-23, last modified 2018-08-23