Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2017, Vol. 9 ›› Issue (6): 511-524.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2017.00511

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Predictions of future hydrological conditions and contribution of snow and ice melt in total discharge of Shigar River Basin in Central Karakoram, Pakistan

Javed Hassan1,2, Rijan Bhakta Kayastha1, Ahuti Shrestha1, Iram Bano1, Sayed Hammad Ali1, Haleem Zaman Magsi2   

  1. 1. Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of Science, Kathmandu University, Nepal;
    2. Department of Earth Sciences Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistan 15100, Pakistan
  • Received:2017-04-08 Online:2017-12-01 Published:2018-11-23
  • Contact: Javed Hassan, Department of Earth Sciences Karakoram International University, Gilgit-Baltistan,Pakistan.
  • Supported by:
    This study is conducted under the auspices of Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow (CHARIS) and funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For completion of this research work, in particular, we express our sincere thanks to CHARIS Project for their financial support and assistance in so many matters and the administration of Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center, Kathmandu University. We also express our gratitude to the kind responses of Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan (WAPDA) and Pakistan Meteorological department (PMD) for providing ground data. We express our sincere thanks to friends and fellows, for their kind advice and moral support.

Abstract: The high mountains of Hindu-Kush Karakoram and Himalaya (HKKH) contain a large volume of snow and ice, which are the primary sources of water for the entire mountainous population of HKKH. Thus, knowledge of these available resources is very important in relation to their sustainable use. A Modified Positive Degree Day Model was used to simulate daily discharge with the contribution of snow and ice melt from the Shigar River Basin, Central Karakoram, Pakistan. The basin covers an area of 6,921 km2 with an elevation range of 2,204 to 8,611 m a.s.l.. Forty percent of the total area is glaciated among which 20% is covered by debris and remaining 80% by clean ice and permanent snow. To simulate daily discharge, the entire basin was divided into 26 altitude belts. Remotely sensed land cover types are derived by classifying Landsat images of 2009. Daily temperature and precipitation from Skardu meteorological station is used to calibrate the glacio-hydrological model as an input variable after correlating data with the Shigar station data (r=0.88). Local temperature lapse rate of 0.0075 ℃/m is used. 2 ℃ critical temperature is used to separate rain and snow from precipitation. The model is calibrated for 1988~1991 and validated for 1992~1997. The model shows a good Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency and volume difference in calibration (0.86% and 0.90%) and validation (0.78% and 6.85%). Contribution of snow and ice melt in discharge is 32.37% in calibration period and 33.01% is validation period. The model is also used to predict future hydrological regime up to 2099 by using CORDEX South Asia RCM considering RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 climate scenarios. Predicted future snow and ice melt contributions in both RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 are 36% and 37%, respectively. Temperature seems to be more sensitive as compared to other input variables, which is why the contribution of snow and ice in discharge varies significantly throughout the whole century.

Key words: positive degree day factor, simulated discharge, daily meteorological variables, debris covered ice, clean ice

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