Hydro-climatic extremes in the Himalayan watersheds: a case of the Marshyangdi Watershed, Nepal uri icon

abstract

  • Climate change/variability and subsequent exacerbation of extremes are affecting human and ecological health across the globe. This study aims at unpacking hydro-climatic extremes in a snow-fedMarshyangdiwatershed, which has a potential for water infrastructure development, located in Central Nepal. Bias-corrected projected future climate for near (2014-2033) and mid-future (2034-2053) under moderate and pessimistic scenarios were developed based on multiple regional climate models. Historical (1983-2013) and future trends of selected climatic extreme indices were calculated using RClimDex and hydrological extremes using Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration tool. Results show that historical trends in precipitation extremes such as number of heavy and very heavy precipitation days and maximum 1-day precipitation are decreasing while the temperature-related extremes have both increasing and decreasing trends (e.g., warm spell duration index, warm days and summer days are increasing whereas cold spell duration index, cool days and warm nights are decreasing). These results indicate drier and hotter conditions over the historical period. The projected future temperature indices (hot nights, warm days) reveal increasing trend for both the scenarios in contrast with decreasing trends in some of the extreme precipitation indices such as consecutive dry and wet days and maximum 5-day precipitation. Furthermore, the watershed has low mean hydrological alterations (27.9%) in the natural flow regime. These results indicate continuation of wetter and hotter future in theMarshyangdiwatershed with likely impacts on future water availability and associated conflicts for water allocation, and therefore affect the river health conditions.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2020