Relevance of Meltwater in River Basin Hydrology

Much talked about disappearing Himalayan glaciers, little is done and more is debated. In this ongoing discourse, we lose the rate of river flows. Seeking facts...

peer paper in Science Magazine focuses on the core of a riverine system, the upstream basin, and its impact on the entire river basin. In a comparative assessment of the hydrological processes in the upstream areas, vis-à-vis the five major river basins in the Asian sub-continent fed by the Himalayan glaciers - the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Indus, Yangtze and Yellow River basins,  three components are analysed,  a) importance of meltwater in river basin hydrology, b) cryospheric changes, and c) effect of climate change on water supply from upstream basins and on food security.

Changes in the upstream precipitation and melts have been studied with respect to their effect on downstream basin.This study is significant for emphasising the relevance of snow and glacial melt in upstream flows, the parameters of upstream river basin that directly affect the main river system. In other words, irrigation, cropping, aquifer recharge, drinking and other water requirements of man, that are essentially met in the downstream basin.

For rivers that depend substantially on glacial melts and seasonal snowpack run-off, such studies are quiet relevant for effective water-resource planning and short-term cryogenic feedback, to enable lower basin impact mitigation.

Read the entire blog here.

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