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Hydro-Meteorological Trends in the Upper Indus

Hydro-Meteorological Trends in the Upper Indus

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11/05/2012

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CLIMATE RESEARCHClim Res
Vol. 46: 103–119, 2011
doi: 10.3354/cr00957
Published online February 22
1. INTRODUCTION
During the last few decades, the concentration ofcarbon dioxide (CO
2
) and other greenhouse gases inthe atmosphere has increased considerably, mainlydue to the burning of fossil fuels and biomass, rapidindustrialization, and changing land-use patterns. Pro- jected global changes in temperature are likely tointensify the hydrologic cycle and, hence, alter hydro-logic systems. As a result, hydrological systems areanticipated to experience, not only changes in averageavailability of water, but also changes in extremes(Simonovic & Li 2003, Jiang et al. 2007). However, im-pacts of climate change on hydrological systems mayvary from region to region.Several studies have reported that warming hastaken place over India (Arora et al. 2005, Singh et al.2008), Bangladesh (Ahmad & Warrick 1996), and Ne-pal (Shrestha et al. 1999). Shrestha et al. (1999)re-ported increases of 0.61, 0.90, and 1.24°C decade
–1
inwinter maximum temperatures for Nepal, Himalayan,and trans-Himalayan climate stations, respectively.CICERO (2000)estimated a temperature rise of 0.9°Cfor Pakistan by 2020 and predicted that the tempera-ture rise could double by 2050. Overall, an increasingtemperature trend was reported for China, and a neg-ative trend was detected in high-latitude regions dur-ing summer. Winter periods have shown a warmingtrend in the southwest Xinjiang and southwest Tibetregions (Gemmer et al. 2003). Fowler & Archer (2006)examined temperature data (1961–1999) of 7 climatestations in the Karakoram and Hindukush mountainsusing regression techniques, and detected a winterwarming and a summer cooling trend.
© Inter-Research 2011 · www.int-res.com*Corresponding author. Email: msbabel@ait.ac.th
Hydro-meteorological trends in the upperIndusRiver basin in Pakistan
M. Shahzad Khattak
1
, M. S. Babel
1,
*, M. Sharif
3
1
Water Engineering and Management, Asian Institute of Technology, PO Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
2
Department of Civil Engineering, Jamia Millia Islamia University, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi – 110025, India
ABSTRACT: We examined trends in several hydro-meteorological variables in the upper IndusRiver basin (UIRB) in Pakistan. To represent the diversity of hydro-meteorological conditions in thebasin, mean monthly data from 20 meteorological and 8 hydrometric stations were analyzed fordetection oftrends using the non-parametric Mann-Kendall test in combination with the trend-freepre-whitening approach for correcting time series data sets for serial correlation. Sen’s slopemethod, a non-parametric alternative for estimating a slope for a univariate time series, was used todetermine the magnitude of trends. The meteorological variables we considered were: minimumtemperature, maximum temperature, and precipitation, whereas the hydrological variable consid-ered was streamflow. For several of the variables, many more trends were identified than can beexpected to occur by chance. Analysis of winter maximum temperature revealed an increasingtrend with the trend in slopes of 1.79, 1.66, and 1.20°C per 39 yr for the upper, middle, and lowerregions, respectively. Precipitation trends were inconsistent and showed no definite pattern. Trendsin streamflow were found to be related to increasing trends in mean maximum temperature, partic-ularly in winter and spring seasons. Increased winter temperatures are likely to increase streamflowin winter and spring. During summer months streamflow will decrease and reduce the availabilityof water in the Tarbela Dam, thereby requiring changes in the reservoir operating policy towardsmore efficient management of available water.KEY WORDS: Climate change · Trend analysis · Pakistan · Mann-Kendall test · Sen’s slope test ·Upper Indus River basin
Resale or republication not permitted without written consent of the publisher 
 
Clim Res 46: 103–119, 2011
Many precipitation trend studies have also been car-ried out in the South Asia region (e.g. Zhang et al. 2005,Huang et al. 2009). Gemmer et al. (2003)showed thatthere was an increasing precipitation trend 1951–2002in southwestern Xinjiang, which is an area adjacent tothe northern part of Pakistan, and in Jammu-Kashmir,which is southwest of Tibet. Archer & Fowler (2004)used linear regression to analyze precipitation datafrom various stations in the upper part of the IndusRiver basin with different record lengths. A significantincreasing trend of precipitation in winter and summerduring the period 1961–1999 was detected. On the con-trary, Raziei et al. (2005)concluded that precipitation inIran is decreasing. Kezer & Matsuyama (2006)investi-gated runoff trends for the Ili and East Rivers in CentralAsia; no statistically significant change was observedexcept for runoff. Chen et al. (2007) investigated tem-poral (1951–2003) trends in annual and seasonal pre-cipitation, temperature, and runoff in the Hanjiangbasin in China using the Mann-Kendall test and linearregression. Results indicated that precipitation did notexhibit a significant trend, but a significant increasingtrend for temperature was seen in most parts of thebasin at the 5% level. Furthermore, a decreasing trendwas seen in mean annual, spring, and winter runoffs inthe Danjiangkou reservoir basin.Results of several recent studies have confirmed thatthe South Asia region is indeed warming, and thetrend of warming is broadly consistent with the globalwarming trend (Singh et al. 2008). As a consequence,many aspects of the natural environment, includingwater resources, are anticipated to experience poten-tially serious climatic impacts in the South Asia region.The recent Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange (IPCC) report (IPCC 2007a) clearly indicatesthe likelihood of considerable warming over sub-regions of South Asia, with greater warming in winterthan in summer. Results of multimodel GCM (globalclimate model) runs under the Special Report on Emis-sion Scenarios (SRES) B1 and A1F1 project an increasein average temperature over all of South Asia, with thegreatest increase being projected for winter months.The projected rise in temperature for winter monthsexceeds the range of the global mean surface temper-ature rise (1.8 to 4°C) reported by the IPCC (2007b).The impact of global climate change on hydrologicalsystems has been extensively studied (Bates et al. 2008).Many recent works have focused on the assessment ofthe impacts of climate change in snow-dominatedbasins. Burn (1994)and Westmacott & Burn (1997)ex-amined the impacts of climate change on the timings ofspring runoff in West-Central Canada. Burn et al.(2004a,b) investigated trends and variability in hydro-logical variables for natural streamflow gauging stationsfor the Liard and Mackenzie River basins in northernCanada. Both basins exhibited an increase in winterflows and some increase in spring runoff. Abdul Aziz &Burn (2006)and Burn (2008)noted an earlier onset ofthespring freshet over the Mackenzie River basin.Novotny & Stefan (2007)observed that the threat offlooding has increased due to rainfall events rather thansnow melt in 5 major river basins of Minnesota, USA.In developing countries like Pakistan, climatechange could represent an additional stress on ecolog-ical and socioeconomic systems that are already facingtremendous pressure due to rapid urbanization, indus-trialization, and economic development. With its largeand growing population and an economy that is closelytied to its natural resource base, Pakistan is highly vul-nerable to the effects of climate change. According tothe recent work of Vorosmarty et al. (2010), the SouthAsian region shows high incident threats to humanwater security or biodiversity. The Himalayan regionhas >12000 glaciers (ICIMOD 2001), and the IndusRiver is replenished by melt-water from around 3300glaciers (Thayyen & Gergan 2010). The water securityof Pakistan is likely to be impacted due to changes inthe temporal and spatial distribution of water. Theerratic and uncertain pattern of water availability islikely to impact crop yields due to changes in thedynamics of the hydrological cycle. Therefore, themain focus of this research is to detect and analyze thetrends in hydro-meteorological variables from severalstations in the upper Indus River basin (UIRB).Previous studies (Archer & Fowler 2004, Fowler &Archer 2006) in the UIRB applied a linear regressiontechnique for the analysis of trends in temperature andprecipitation variables. In the present study, the non-parametric Mann-Kendall test has been used for thetrend analysis with the trend-free pre-whitening(TFPW) approach (Yue et al. 2002) for correcting timeseries for serial correlation. Apart from temperatureand precipitation, the present study analyzes trends instreamflow as well. In previous work, meteorologicalstations covering only a more restricted upper part ofthe Indus River basin were considered, whereas thepresent work covers stations from the entire UIRBlying in Pakistan.
2. STUDY BASIN
TheIndusRiverbasinisoneoftheworldslargestbasins,coveringanareaofapproximately1.1
×
10
6
km
2
,shared by Afghanistan (6.7%), China (10.7%), India(26.6%), and Pakistan (56%) (Wolf et al. 1999). TheIndus River is the major river flowing through thebasin. One of the world’s longest rivers (3180 km), itoriginates from the Tibetan Plateau north of LakeMansarovar at 5500 m above mean sea level. It flows
104
 
Khattak et al.: Hydro-meteorological trends in the Indus River basin
through Jammu, Kashmir, and Pakistan before drain-ing into the Arabian Sea (Negi 2004). The other mainrivers that flow westwards into this basin are theJhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej, while theKabul River originates at the base of the Unai Pass inAfghanistan and flows eastward towards Kabul city inAfghanistan and meets the Indus River at Attock inPakistan.The study area for this research is confined to theupper part of the Indus River basin that lies in Pak-istan, and is referred to as the UIRB (Fig. 1). The UIRBlies between latitudes 32.48 and 37.07°N and longi-tudes 67.33 and 81.83°E, and covers an area of approx-imately 289000 km
2
. The basin is fed by a combinationof seasonal snowmelt, permanent glacier melt, and di-rect runoff from rainfall during winter and summermonsoon seasons (Archer 2003). The Kabul River is thesecond major river in the basin. The Tarbela Reservoir(Fig. 1) is a major storage facility on the Indus River inPakistan. It came into full operation in 1976. Owing tosedimentation, the gross storage capacity of the Tarbe-la Reservoir has been reduced from 14.3
×
10
9
to10.3
×
10
9
m
3
(Haq & Abbas 2006). The main purpose of Tar-bela Reservoir is to store water from the Indus Riverand to ensure a continued and improved supply ofwater for irrigated land in Pakistan, besides generatinghydro-electric power (3500 MW) and controlling floodsduring the high flow period (summer season). Detailson hydrometric locations, obtained from the Water andPower Development Authority (WAPDA) of Pakistan,are presented in Table 1. The mean monthly and meanannual runoff data for the major rivers in the UIRB are
105
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10
0
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1
12
2
13
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R    I   n  d   u  s  
R. Indus
. 
R. Gilgit
       R .        S      w     a       t
R. Swat
 R.  S o a n
R. Soan
 R.  H a r o
R. Haro
   R .   S   i  r  a  n
R. Siran
R               .    A              s           t              o           r           e           
R. Astore
 R.  H u n z a
R. Hunza
   R .   C   h   i   t  r  a   l
R. Chitral
. Sho
. Shyok
Tarbela
arbela
400 km200 0 200
Upper Indus River BasinUpper Region (UR)Middle Region (MR)Lower Region (LR)RiverStream gaugeMeteorological stationDamIndus BasinUpper Indus River Basin, Pakistan
BCDF12346789
 
1011121315E514G1617181920 Afghanistan AfghanistanPakistanIndiaChinaNepalChinaIndia
I  d   R  i  v  r  K  l   R  i  v  r  
Pakistan
R    I   n  d   u  s  
. . 
       R .        S      w     a       t
 R.  S o a n
 R.  H a r o
   R .   S   i  r  a  n
R               .    A              s           t              o           r           e           
 R.  H u n z a
   R .   C   h   i   t  r  a   l
. Sho
Tarbela
I
I
A
 A 
Fig. 1. Spatial distribution of climate and hydrometric stations in the upper Indus River basin (UIRB), Pakistan. Top right: full extentof the Indus River Basin (grey)

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