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Estimation of Discharge from Langtang River Basin, Rasuwa, Nepal, Using a Glacio-Hydrological Model

  • Mool, P. K.
  • Shrestha, A. B.
  • Devkota, L. P.
  • Pradhan, S. C.
  • Adhikari, T. R.
  • Bhattarai, B. C.
  • Kayastha, R. B.
  • Pradhananga, N. S.

This paper provides the results of semi-distributed positive degree-day (PDD) modelling for a glacierized river basin in Nepal. The main objective is to estimate the present and future discharge from the glacierized Langtang River basin using a PDD model (PDDM). The PDDM is calibrated for the period 1993–98 and is validated for the period 1999–2006 with Nash–Sutcliffe values of 0.85 and 0.80, respectively. Furthermore, the projected precipitation and temperature data from 2010 to 2050 are obtained from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Norway, for the representative concentration pathway 4.5 (RCP4.5) scenario. The Weather Research and Forecasting regional climate model is used to downscale the data from the Norwegian Earth System Model general circulation model. Projected discharge shows no significant trend, but in the future during the pre-monsoon period, discharge will be high and the peak discharge will be in July whereas it is in August at present. The contribution of snow and ice melt from glaciers and snowmelt from rocks and vegetation will decrease in the future: in 2040– 50 it will be just 50% of the total discharge. The PDDM is sensitive to monthly average temperature, as a 28C temperature increase will increase the discharge by 31.9%. Changes in glacier area are less sensitive, as glacier area decreases of 25% and 50% result in a change in the total discharge of –5.7% and –11.4%, respectively.

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