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WIREs Clim Change
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Changing climate and glacio‐hydrology in Indian Himalayan Region: a review

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This study presents a comprehensive review of the published literature on the evidences of a changing climate in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) and its impacts on the glacio‐hydrology of the region. The IHR serves as an important source of fresh water for the densely populated areas downstream. It is evident from the available studies that temperature is significantly increasing in all parts of the IHR, whereas precipitation is not indicative of any particular spatiotemporal trend. Glacio‐hydrological proxies for changing climate, such as, terminus and areal changes of the glaciers, glacier mass balance, and streamflow in downstream areas, highlight changes more evidently in recent decades. On an average, studies have predicted an increase in temperature and precipitation in the region, along with increase in streamflow of major rivers. Such trends are already apparent in some sub‐basins of the western IHR. The region is particularly vulnerable to changing climate as it is highly dependent on snow and glacier melt run‐off to meet its freshwater demands. We present a systematic review of key papers dealing with changing temperature, precipitation, glaciers, and streamflow in the IHR. We discuss these interdisciplinary themes in relation to each other, in order to establish the present and future impacts of climatic, glaciological, and hydrological changes in the region. WIREs Clim Change 2016, 7:393–410. doi: 10.1002/wcc.393 This article is categorized under: Paleoclimates and Current Trends > Modern Climate Change
Major river basins and glaciers in Hindu Kush‐Himalaya (HKH) adjoining Indian Himalayan Region (boundary after Bajracharya and Shrestha).
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Comparison of (a) annual mass balance measurement and average daily melt season discharge of glaciers in IHR (Azam et al.; Dobhal et al.; Mishra et al.; Raina and Srivastava; Ramanathan); and (b) annual mass balance measurement and average annual discharge of glaciers in Greenland (Van As et al.).
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Mass balance of glaciers in IHR with more than 5 years of observation. The values in bracket show the area of the corresponding glaciers. Source: Azam et al.; Dobhal et al.; Mishra et al.; Pratap et al.; Raina and Srivastava; and Wagnon et al.
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Map of Indian Himalayan Region showing the location of glaciers for which glaciological mass balance measurements are available for at least 5 years.
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The role of glacier mass balance and factors affecting it. (Information source: Ref )
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Length changes observed in glaciers of (a) Jammu and Kashmir, (b) Himachal Pradesh, and (c) Uttarakhand in IHR. (Data source: Ref )
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Map of Indian Himalayan Region showing trends of precipitation in different parts. The boundary of Hindu Kush‐Himalaya (after Bajracharya and Shrestha) has been dissolved with the boundary of India. The station data have been shown after Archer and Fowler and Bhutiyani et al. and state‐wise trend has been shown after Guhathakurta and Rajeevan.
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Summary of temperature trend observed by several studies in different parts of IHR. Tavg, Tmax, and Tmin represent average temperature, maximum temperature, and minimum temperature, respectively. The numbers given in superscripts on the X‐axis represent corresponding references.
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