Review

Glaciohydrology of the Himalaya-Karakoram

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Science  10 Jun 2021:
eabf3668
DOI: 10.1126/science.abf3668

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Abstract

Understanding the response of Himalayan-Karakoram (HK) rivers to climate change is crucial for ~1 billion people who partly depend on these water resources. Policymakers tasked with the sustainable water resources management for agriculture, hydropower, drinking, sanitation, and hazards require an assessment of rivers’ current status and potential future changes. This review demonstrates that glacier and snow melt are important components of HK rivers, with greater hydrological importance for the Indus than Ganges and Brahmaputra basins. Total river runoff, glacier melt, and seasonality of flow are projected to increase until the 2050s, with some exceptions and large uncertainties. Critical knowledge gaps severely affect modeled contributions of different runoff components, future runoff volumes and seasonality. Therefore, comprehensive field- and remote sensing-based methods and models are needed.

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