Investigating Snow Cover and Hydrometeorological Trends in Contrasting Hydrological Regimes of the Upper Indus Basin

Iqra Atif, Javed Iqbal, Muhammad Mahboob
2018 Atmosphere  
The Upper Indus basin (UIB) is characterized by contrasting hydrometeorological behaviors; therefore, it has become pertinent to understand hydrometeorological trends at the sub-watershed level. Many studies have investigated the snow cover and hydrometeorological modeling at basin level but none have reported the spatial variability of trends and their magnitude at a sub-basin level. This study was conducted to analyze the trends in the contrasting hydrological regimes of the snow and
more » ... e snow and glacier-fed river catchments of the Hunza and Astore sub-basins of the UIB. Mann-Kendall and Sen's slope methods were used to study the main trends and their magnitude using MODIS snow cover information (2001)(2002)(2003)(2004)(2005)(2006)(2007)(2008)(2009)(2010)(2011)(2012)(2013)(2014)(2015) and hydrometeorological data. The results showed that in the Hunza basin, the river discharge and temperature were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) decreased with a Sen's slope value of −2.541 m 3 ·s −1 ·year −1 and −0.034 • C·year −1 , respectively, while precipitation data showed a non-significant (p ≥ 0.05) increasing trend with a Sen's slope value of 0.023 mm·year −1 . In the Astore basin, the river discharge and precipitation are increasing significantly (p ≤ 0.05) with a Sen's slope value of 1.039 m 3 ·s −1 ·year −1 and 0.192 mm·year −1 , respectively. The snow cover analysis results suggest that the Western Himalayas (the Astore basin) had a stable trend with a Sen's slope of 0.07% year −1 and the Central Karakoram region (the Hunza River basin) shows a slightly increasing trend with a Sen's slope of 0.394% year −1 . Based on the results of this study it can be concluded that since both sub-basins are influenced by different climatological systems (monsoon and westerly), the results of those studies that treat the Upper Indus basin as one unit in hydrometeorological modeling should be used with caution. Furthermore, it is suggested that similar studies at the sub-basin level of the UIB will help in a better understanding of the Karakoram anomaly.
doi:10.3390/atmos9050162 fatcat:pogy3gek2fhk7gdiqrc2vbdlxy