Perturbation study of climate change impacts in a snow-fed river basin

Authors

  • Sujata Manandhar,

    Corresponding author
    1. International Special Doctoral Course for Integrated River Basin Management, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Kofu, Japan
    • Correspondence to: Sujata Manandhar, International Special Doctoral Course for Integrated River Basin Management, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, 4-3-11, Takeda, Yamanashi, Kofu 400-8511, Japan.

      E-mail: sujatamanandhar@gmail.com

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  • Vishnu Prasad Pandey,

    1. International Research Center for River Basin Environment (ICRE), University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Kofu, Japan
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  • Hiroshi Ishidaira,

    1. International Research Center for River Basin Environment (ICRE), University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Kofu, Japan
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  • Futaba Kazama

    1. International Research Center for River Basin Environment (ICRE), University of Yamanashi, Yamanashi, Kofu, Japan
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Abstract

A physically based distributed hydrological model developed at the University of Yamanashi based on block-wise use of TOPMODEL and the Muskingum–Cunge method (YHyM/BTOPMC), integrated with a simple degree-day–based snow accumulation/melt sub-model, was applied to evaluate hydrological responses under changing climatic conditions in the snow-fed Kali Gandaki River Basin (KGRB) in Western Nepal. Rainy season precipitation (June to September) in the basin takes up about 80% of the annual precipitation, and dry season runoff is largely contributed by snowmelt. Climate change is likely to increase the probability of extreme events and problems related to water availability. Therefore, the study aimed to simulate runoff pattern under changing climatic conditions, which will be helpful in the management of water resources in the basin. Public domain global data were widely used in this study. The model was calibrated and validated with an acceptable degree of accuracy. The results predicted that the annual average discharge will increase by 2.4%, 3.7%, and 5.7% when temperature increases by 1, 2, and 3 °C compared with the reference scenario. Similarly, maximum, minimum, and seasonal discharges in the monsoon and pre-monsoon seasons will also increase with rising temperature. Snowmelt runoff is found sensitive to temperature changes in the KGRB. Increasing temperature will cause a faster snowmelt, but precipitation will increase the snowpack and also shed a positive effect on the total annual and monsoonal discharge. For the combined scenarios of increasing temperature and precipitation, the annual average discharge will increase. In contrast, discharge during the increasing temperature and decreasing precipitation will tend to decrease. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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