Review article: Hydrological modeling in glacierized catchments of central Asia – status and challenges
- State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
Abstract. Meltwater from glacierized catchments is one of the most important water supplies in central Asia. Therefore, the effects of climate change on glaciers and snow cover will have increasingly significant consequences for runoff. Hydrological modeling has become an indispensable research approach to water resources management in large glacierized river basins, but there is a lack of focus in the modeling of glacial discharge. This paper reviews the status of hydrological modeling in glacierized catchments of central Asia, discussing the limitations of the available models and extrapolating these to future challenges and directions. After reviewing recent efforts, we conclude that the main sources of uncertainty in assessing the regional hydrological impacts of climate change are the unreliable and incomplete data sets and the lack of understanding of the hydrological regimes of glacierized catchments of central Asia. Runoff trends indicate a complex response to changes in climate. For future variation of water resources, it is essential to quantify the responses of hydrologic processes to both climate change and shrinking glaciers in glacierized catchments, and scientific focus should be on reducing uncertainties linked to these processes.