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THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS. Andy Chan Geo 387H Physical Climatology Fall 2007. Glacier Related Excerpts from IPCC Assessment Report 2007. More than 1/6 of world population depend on snowmelt- or glacier-fed rivers

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the impact of climate warming on the hydrology of glacier and snow melting in the himalayas

THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS

Andy Chan

Geo 387H

Physical Climatology

Fall 2007

glacier related excerpts from ipcc assessment report 2007
Glacier Related Excerpts fromIPCC Assessment Report 2007
  • More than 1/6 of world population depend on snowmelt- or glacier-fed rivers
  • Glaciers continue to melt as temperature continue rises
  • Some glaciers will be depleted in a few decades, some within this century
  • Reduce water availability for irrigation and agriculture

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

why himalayas
Why Himalayas?

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/asia/riveroutlinemapanswers

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

why is it important
Why is it important?
  • Himalayas is nicknamed “Water Tower of Asia”
  • Largest body of glaciers outside of polar regions, occupy 17% of mountain area
  • Glaciers supply freshwater to 500 million people in Himalaya-Hindu-Kush region and 250 million people in China (IPCC)

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

why is it important5
Why is it important?

IPCC

Assessment

Report 2007

Figure 10.4

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

literature reviewed
Literature Reviewed

Reviews in Nature

  • Barnett, Adam, Lettenmaier (2005)

Modeling

  • Singh and Kumar (1997)
  • Singh and Bengtsson (2004)
  • Singh, Arora, Goel (2006)
  • Rees and Collins (2006)

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and kumar 1997
Singh and Kumar (1997)
  • 10071 km2
  • Elevation 2900 to 7000 m
  • Most area under 6000 m
  • ~2.5% covered by glaciers
  • ~45% runoff from snow and glacier melt

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and kumar 1997 snow water equivalent swe
Singh and Kumar (1997)Snow Water Equivalent (SWE)

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and kumar 1997 snowmelt runoff
Singh and Kumar (1997)Snowmelt Runoff

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and kumar 1997 glacier melt runoff
Singh and Kumar (1997)Glacier Melt Runoff

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and kumar 1997 total streamflow runoff
Singh and Kumar (1997)Total Streamflow Runoff

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

slide12

Singh and Kumar (1997)Keypoints

  • Snowmelt and glacier melt increases linearly with temperature rise
  • Snowmelt runoff, glacier melt runoff, and total streamflow increased 4-18%, 33-38%, and 6-12% respectively in +2°C scenario
  • Higher streamflow in the spring

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004
Singh and Bengtsson (2004)
  • 22275 km2
  • Elevation 500 to 7000 m
  • Most area under 6000 m
  • ~11% covered by glaciers
  • ~60% runoff from snow and glacier melt

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004 monthly snowmelt runoff
Singh and Bengtsson (2004)Monthly Snowmelt Runoff

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004 snowmelt seasonal change
Spring: +12.1%

Summer: -10.4%

Annual: -6.1%

Singh and Bengtsson (2004)Snowmelt Seasonal Change

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004 monthly streamflow
Singh and Bengtsson (2004)Monthly Streamflow

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004 counterbalance
Spring: +4 to +10%

Summer: -6 to -11%

Annual: -4 to -6%

(due to predicted decrease in rainfall)

Singh and Bengtsson (2004)Counterbalance

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004 streamflow seasonal change
Reduced contribution of snowmelt from lower part of the basin is counterbalanced by the increased glacier melt from upper part of the basinSingh and Bengtsson (2004)Streamflow Seasonal Change

2

3

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh and bengtsson 2004 keypoints
In a large basin with a wide range of elevation, spring runoff increases and summer runoff decreases

Both caused by early snowmelt

Snowmelt reduction in the lower zone counterbalanced by increased glacier melt from the higher zone

Annual snowmelt decreases by 4-6% (+2°C ) due to basin-wide deduction in snowmelt and rainfall

Singh and Bengtsson (2004)Keypoints

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh arora goel 2006
Singh, Arora, Goel (2006)
  • 16.13 km2
  • Elevation 3950 to 5800 m
  • ~60% covered by snow and ice
  • ~83% runoff from glacier melt
  • ~17% runoff from rainfall

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh arora goel 2006 change in basin runoff
Singh, Arora, Goel (2006)Change in Basin Runoff

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh arora goel 2006 change in basin runoff in the summer
Singh, Arora, Goel (2006)Change in Basin Runoff in the Summer

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

singh arora goel 2006 keypoint
In a basin with 87% glacier melt as total runoff, +2°C increases summer streamflow by 28%Singh Arora, Goel (2006)Keypoint

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

rees and collins 2006
Rees and Collins (2006)
  • Two Conceptual basins
  • SE Himalayas: Monsoon rain
  • NW Himalayas: Westerly precipitation
  • 5000 km2 each
  • 50 km2 of glacier
  • Elevation 4000 to

6000 m

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

rees and collins 2006 hypothetical catchment
Rees and Collins (2006)Hypothetical Catchment

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

rees and collins 2006 ice cover area in 150 years
Rees and Collins (2006)Ice Cover Area in 150 Years

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

rees and collins 2006 discharge in future 150 years
Rees and Collins (2006)Discharge in Future 150 Years

Western

Catchment

Eastern

Catchment

Baseline Condition

Warming Condition

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

rees and collins 2006 keypoint
Discharge increases by 150-170% before dropping by 33% and 4-18% in the Western and Eastern catchment respectivelyRees and Collins (2006)Keypoint

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H

wrapping up
Wrapping up…

Short term

  • Temperature rise causes streamflow to increase in spring and decrease in summer
  • Water demand is highest during summer
  • Reduced contribution of snowmelt from lower elevation is counteracted by increased glacier melt from higher elevation

Long term

  • Streamflow initially increases as glaciers melt, then decreases when glaciers are depleted

ANDY CHAN - THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE WARMING ON THE HYDROLOGY OF GLACIER AND SNOW MELTING IN THE HIMALAYAS - PHYSICAL CLIMATOLOGY - GEO387H