Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mountain climate change trends could predict water resources

25.08.2006
NEW research into climate change in the Western Himalaya and the surrounding Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains could explain why many glaciers there are growing and not melting.

The findings suggest this area, known as the Upper Indus Basin, could be reacting differently to global warming, the phenomenon blamed for causing glaciers in the Eastern Himalaya, Nepal and India, to melt and shrink.

Researchers from Newcastle University, UK, who publish their findings in the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, looked at temperature trends in the Upper Indus Basin over the last century.

They found a recent increase in winter temperatures and a cooling of summer temperatures. These trends, combined with an increase in snow and rainfall - a finding from earlier in their research - could be causing glaciers to grow, at least in the higher mountain regions.

These findings are particularly significant because temperature and rain and snow trends in the Upper Indus Basin also impact on the water availability for more than 50 million Pakistani people.

Melt water from glaciers and the previous winter’s snow supplies water for the summer ‘runoff’ which feeds irrigation both in the mountains and in the plains of the Lower Indus. The vast Indus Basin Irrigation System is the mainstay of the national economy of Pakistan, which has 170,000 square kilometres of irrigated land, an area two-thirds the size of the United Kingdom.

Being able to predict trends could contribute to more effective, forward-thinking management of the two major dams in the Upper Indus Basin - called the Mangla Dam and the Tarbela Dam - and thus allow a better long-term control of water for irrigation and power supplies. These dams have the capacity to produce around 5,000 Megawatts of electric power.

The amount of runoff depends on the elaborate interplay of weather conditions. One third of the runoff - that which comes from the higher mountain regions - is largely dependent on the temperature in the summer, research shows. Specifically, the fall of one degree centigrade in mean summer temperature since 1961 is thought to have caused a 20 per cent drop in runoff into the higher mountain rivers.

Yet two-thirds of runoff - that from the lower mountain regions - is dependent on the amount of snow in the previous winter. Heavy winter snowfall is followed by a greater volume of summer runoff.

Dr Hayley Fowler, lead author on the research paper and a senior research associate with Newcastle University’s School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, said: “Very little research of this kind has been carried out in this region and yet the findings from our work have implications for the water supplies of around 50 million people in Pakistan who are dependent on the activity of the glaciers.

“Our research suggests we could be able to predict in advance the volume of summer runoff, which is very useful in planning ahead for water resources and also the output from the dams.”

Co-researcher Mr David Archer, a visiting fellow with Newcastle University, added: “Our research is concerned with both climate change and the climate variability that is happening from year to year.

“Information on variability is more important for the management of the water system as it will help to forecast the inflow into reservoirs and allow for better planning of water use for irrigation.

“However, information on the impacts of climatic change is important for the longer term management of water resources and to help us understand what is happening in the mountains under global warming.”

Claire Jordan | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>