Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-499
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-499
19 Oct 2021
 | 19 Oct 2021
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal HESS but the revision was not accepted.

The control of climate sensitivity on variability and change of summer runoff from two glacierised Himalayan catchments

Sourav Laha, Argha Banerjee, Ajit Singh, Parmanand Sharma, and Meloth Thamban

Abstract. The response of catchment runoff to climate forcing is determined by its climate sensitivity. We investigate the sensitivity of summer runoff to precipitation and temperature changes in winter-snow dominated Chandra (western Himalaya), and summer-rain dominated upper Dudhkoshi (eastern Himalaya) catchments in order to understand the nature of climate-change impact on the mean summer runoff and its variability. The runoff over the period 1980–2018 is simulated with a semi-distribute hydrologic model, which is calibrated using available discharge and glacier mass loss data. An analysis of the interannual variability of the simulated summer runoff reveals that the runoff from the glacierised parts of the catchments is sensitive to temperature changes, but is insensitive to precipitation changes. The behaviour of the summer runoff from the non-glacierised parts is exactly opposite. Such precipitation-independent runoff from the glacierised parts stabilises the catchment runoff against precipitation variability to some degree. With shrinking glacier cover over the coming decades, the summer runoff from the two catchments is expected become more sensitive to the precipitation forcing and less sensitive to the temperature forcing. Because of these competing effects, the impact of the glacier loss on the interannual variability of summer runoff may not be significant. However, the characteristic ‘peak water’ in the long-term mean summer runoff, which is caused by the excess meltwater released by the shrinking ice reserve, may lead to a detectable signal over the background interannual variability of runoff in these two catchments.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Sourav Laha, Argha Banerjee, Ajit Singh, Parmanand Sharma, and Meloth Thamban

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-499', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Nov 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply to RC1', Argha Banerjee, 16 Dec 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-499', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Nov 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Argha Banerjee, 16 Dec 2021
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-499', Koji Fujita, 30 Nov 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Argha Banerjee, 16 Dec 2021

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-499', Anonymous Referee #1, 11 Nov 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply to RC1', Argha Banerjee, 16 Dec 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-499', Anonymous Referee #2, 23 Nov 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Argha Banerjee, 16 Dec 2021
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-499', Koji Fujita, 30 Nov 2021
    • AC3: 'Reply on CC1', Argha Banerjee, 16 Dec 2021
Sourav Laha, Argha Banerjee, Ajit Singh, Parmanand Sharma, and Meloth Thamban
Sourav Laha, Argha Banerjee, Ajit Singh, Parmanand Sharma, and Meloth Thamban

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Latest update: 19 Jul 2024
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Short summary
A study of two glacierised Himalayan catchments reveals that the summer runoff from the glacierised parts of the catchments responds strongly to temperature forcing and is stable to precipitation forcing, while that of the non-glacierised parts has an exactly opposite behaviour. The pattern of changes in mean runoff and its variability under a warming climate is determined by the response of glaciers to temperature forcing, and that of off-glacier areas to precipitation perturbations.