Snowmelt Runoff Modelling under Projected Climate Change Patterns in the Gilgit River Basin of Northern Pakistan
Muhammad Adnan1, Ghulam Nabi2, Shichang Kang1,3, Guoshuai Zhang4, Rana Muhammad Adnan5, Muhammad Naveed Anjum6,7, Mudassar Iqbal8, Ayaz Fateh Ali1
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1State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources,
Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Lanzhou 730000, China
2Centre of Excellence in Water Resource Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology Lahore,
54000, Pakistan
3CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface Processes, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
5School of Hydropower and Information Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology,
Wuhan 430074, China
6Key Laboratory of Inland River Eco-hydrology, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources,
CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
7University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
8Key Laboratory of land Surface Process and Climate Change, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources,
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
Submission date: 2016-09-07
Final revision date: 2016-10-22
Acceptance date: 2016-11-03
Online publication date: 2017-03-22
Publication date: 2017-03-22
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2017;26(2):525-542
Pakistan is home to three of the world’s largest mountain ranges in the Upper Indus Basin (UIB), where the majority of Pakistan’s water resources are located: the Himalayan, Karakorum, and Hindu-Kush. This work estimated the (snow+glacier) and rainfall runoff from one of the major tributaries, the Gilgit River, nestled within the UIB of Pakistan. The snowmelt runoff model (SRM) derived by the cryospheric data from the MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer) was employed to predict the daily discharges of the Gilgit. The SRM was successfully calibrated, and the simulation was undertaken from 2005 to 2010, with a coefficient of model efficiency ranging from 0.84-0.94. The average contributions of (snow+glacier) and rainfall to the stream flows of the Gilgit from 2001-10 were 78.35% and 21.65%, respectively, derived from the SRM. The representative concentration pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5 scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 were used to investigate the effects of the changes in temperature on climate of the Gilgit catchment. Under the RCP 4.5 scenario, the air temperature of Gilgit will increase by 3°C, whereas the increase in precipitation will be minor. Under the RCP 8.5 scenario (overshooting scenario), air temperature will increase by 10.7°C, whereas precipitation will decrease between 2010 and the end of the 21st century in the Gilgit catchment. The application of the RCP 4.5 and 8.5 mean temperature scenarios in the SRM suggested that with increases in mean temperature of 3.02ºC and 10.7ºC, respectively, the average annual runoff in the Gilgit will increase by 67.03 and 177.5%, respectively, compared with the observed runoff by the end of the 21st century. This increased surface runoff from snow/glacier melt can potentially be utilized by planning new storage areas at appropriate locations to harness additional water.
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