Climate Change Variability Trends and Implications for Freshwater Resources in Pakistan’s Eastern Hindu Kush Region
Nasir Hussain1, Shaukat Ali1, Azhar Hussain2, Salar Ali3, Sher Wali Khan4, Ghulam Raza1, Qamar Abbas4, Iqtidar Hussain1, Muhammad Hussain2
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1Department of Environmental Sciences, Karakoram International University,
Gilgit-Baltistan 15100, Gilgit, Pakistan
2Department of Agriculture and Food Technology, Karakoram International University,
Gilgit-Baltistan 15100, Pakistan
3Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Institute of Geography and Limnology,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, 73 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China
4Department of Biological Sciences, Karakoram International University,
Gilgit-Baltistan 15100, Gilgit, Pakistan
Online publish date: 2018-01-19
Publish date: 2018-01-26
Submission date: 2017-05-17
Final revision date: 2017-07-15
Acceptance date: 2017-07-18
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2018;27(2):665–673
Due to climate change, the world average surface temperature has increased 0.3-0.6ºC over the past 100 years. The northern belt of Pakistan holds the largest storage of freshwater (ice and snow) after the polar region, and provides water to the downstream population for agriculture plus domestic and hydropower resources. This study focuses on a possible explanation for the seemingly declining behavior of Darkut Glacier using evidence from ground observation and climate station data in Yasin and Gupis valleys in northern Pakistan. We analyzed data obtained from two stations includes the Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan (WAPDA, 1995-2010) and the Pakistan Meteorology Department (PMD, 1986-2015). Results of both climate station data depicted an increase in total precipitation and a decrease in winter and spring seasons. The study also highlighted an increase in mean minimum and maximum temperatures, particularly in winter and spring. Similarly, the trend of solar radiation also has decreased. Therefore, enhanced snout fluctuation and the melting rate of Darkut occurred during the study period. All of these changes have had a negative impact on the snout of the glacier, which has retreated 6 m during 2013 and 2016, and a lake has formed behind the terminal moraine.