• Non-Icimod Publication

Hydrological response to climate change in a glacierized catchment in the Himalayas

  • Immerzeel, W.
  • Van Beek, L.
  • Konz, M.
  • Shrestha, A.
  • Bierkens, M.

The analysis of climate change impact on the hydrology of high altitude glacierized catchments in the Himalayas is complex due to the high variability in climate, lack of data, large uncertainties in climate change projection and uncertainty about the response of glaciers. Therefore a high resolution combined cryospheric hydrological model was developed and calibrated that explicitly simulates glacier evolution and all major hydrological processes. The model was used to assess the future development of the glaciers and the runoff using an ensemble of downscaled climate model data in the Langtang catchment in Nepal. The analysis shows that both temperature and precipitation are projected to increase which results in a steady decline of the glacier area. The river flow is projected to increase significantly due to the increased precipitation and ice melt and the transition towards a rain river. Rain runoff and base flow will increase at the expense of glacier runoff. However, as the melt water peak coincides with the monsoon peak, no shifts in the hydrograph are expected.

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