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
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine