Project:Gridded Meteorological Datasets and Hydrological Modelling in the Upper Indus Basin
Cliënt:International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Partners:Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD)
Doel:To develop high quality meteorological forcing datasets for the Upper Indus river basin, and to assess climate change impacts on the hydrology of the Upper Indus river.

Understanding of the hydrological regimes in the mountainous Upper Indus basin (UIB) is essential for water resources management in the region. High-resolution gridded meteorological datasets, which capture the spatial variability of precipitation, are critical for modelling the hydrology of high-mountain regions. Improvements to existing gridded datasets using high-elevation station data would increase the reliability of hydrological models in the region. FutureWater’s Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) model was updated and recalibrated to improve understanding of the stream flow composition in the basin and to provide better estimates of the future water availability, by forcing the model with downscaled CMIP5 general circulation models.

The Indus basin is a densely populated area and water supplied by the Indus River is extremely important for agriculture, domestic use and hydropower production. The Indus is largely dependent on melt water generated in the Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains. Understanding of the hydrological regimes in the mountainous Upper Indus basin (UIB) is essential for water resources management in the region.

It is highly likely that future climate change will impact future water availability in the Upper Indus river basin. Temperature increases and changes in the timing, magnitude, and phase of precipitation will alter the timing and contribution of snow and ice melt.

High-resolution gridded meteorological datasets, which capture the spatial variability of precipitation, are critical for modelling the hydrology of high-mountain regions. In the Upper Indus Basin (UIB), previous modelling studies have demonstrated that snow and glacier melt are major contributors to stream discharge, and on daily or seasonal scales can play even larger roles. However, hydrologic models suffer from a lack of gridded input climate data which accurately reflects the topographic complexity and spatial variability in precipitation. Improvements to existing gridded datasets using high-elevation station data will increase the reliability of hydrological models in the region. FutureWater’s Spatial Processes in Hydrology (SPHY) model will be updated and recalibrated to improve understanding of the stream flow composition in the basin and to provide better estimates of the future water availability, by forcing the model with downscaled CMIP5 general circulation models.

Summarizing, the three main goals of the project are:

  • To develop a high-quality meteorological forcing dataset (temperature and precipitation) for the UIB by merging existing gridded datasets and high-altitude climate observations.
  • To improve the existing large-scale SPHY model by including a reservoir scheme and recalibrating the model with additional observations (geodetic mass balance, time series of river runoff, time series of reservoir inflow data).
  • To use the recalibrated SPHY model to examine shifts in the basin hydrology under CMIP5 climate change scenarios.

Publicaties

  • 2016 - PLOS ONELutz, A.F., W.W. Immerzeel, P.D.A. Kraaijenbrink, A.B. Shrestha, M.F.P. Bierkens. 2016. Climate Change Impacts on the Upper Indus Hydrology: Sources, Shifts and Extremes. PLOS ONE 11(11): e0165630. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165630X

    Climate Change Impacts on the Upper Indus Hydrology: Sources, Shifts and Extremes

    Lutz, A.F., W.W. Immerzeel, P.D.A. Kraaijenbrink, A.B. Shrestha, M.F.P. Bierkens

  • 2015 - Hydrology and Earth System SciencesImmerzeel, W.W., N. Wanders, A. Lutz, J.M. Shea, M.F.P. Bierkens. 2015. Reconciling high-altitude precipitation in the upper Indus basin with glacier mass balances and runoff. Hydrology and Earth System SciencesX

    Reconciling high-altitude precipitation in the upper Indus basin with glacier mass balances and runoff

    Immerzeel, W.W., N. Wanders, A. Lutz, J.M. Shea, M.F.P. Bierkens

  • 2014 - FutureWater Report 130Lutz, A.F., W.W. Immerzeel, P.D.A. Kraaijenbrink. 2014. Gridded meteorological datasets and hydrological modelling in the Upper Indus Basin. FutureWater Report 130X

    Gridded meteorological datasets and hydrological modelling in the Upper Indus Basin

    Lutz, A.F., W.W. Immerzeel, P.D.A. Kraaijenbrink