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Challenges in Understanding the Variability of the Cryosphere in the Himalaya and Its Impact on Regional Water Resources

Vishwakarma, BD and Ramsankaran, RAAJ and Azam, MF and Bolch, T and Mandal, A and Srivastava, S and Kumar, P and Sahu, R and Navinkumar, PJ and Tanniru, SR and Javed, A and Soheb, M and Dimri, AP and Yadav, M and Devaraju, B and Chinnasamy, P and Reddy, MJ and Murugesan, GP and Arora, M and Jain, SK and Ojha, CSP and Harrison, S and Bamber, J (2022) Challenges in Understanding the Variability of the Cryosphere in the Himalaya and Its Impact on Regional Water Resources. In: Frontiers in Water, 4 .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/frwa.2022.909246


The Himalaya plays a vital role in regulating the freshwater availability for nearly a billion people living in the Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra River basins. Due to climate change and constantly evolving human-hydrosphere interactions, including land use/cover changes, groundwater extraction, reservoir or dam construction, water availability has undergone significant change, and is expected to change further in the future. Therefore, understanding the spatiotemporal evolution of the hydrological cycle over the Himalaya and its river basins has been one of the most critical exercises toward ensuring regional water security. However, due to the lack of extensive in-situ measurements, complex hydro-climatic environment, and limited collaborative efforts, large gaps in our understanding exist. Moreover, there are several significant issues with available studies, such as lack of consistent hydro-meteorological datasets, very few attempts at integrating different data types, limited spatiotemporal sampling of hydro-meteorological measurements, lack of open access to in-situ datasets, poorly accounted anthropogenic climate feedbacks, and limited understanding of the hydro-meteorological drivers over the region. These factors result in large uncertainties in our estimates of current and future water availability over the Himalaya, which constraints the development of sustainable water management strategies for its river catchments hampering our preparedness for the current and future changes in hydro-climate. To address these issues, a partnership development workshop entitled “Water sEcurity assessment in rIvers oriGinating from Himalaya (WEIGH),” was conducted between the 07th and 11th September 2020. Based on the intense discussions and deliberations among the participants, the most important and urgent research questions were identified. This white paper synthesizes the current understanding, highlights, and the most significant research gaps and research priorities for studying water availability in the Himalaya.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Frontiers in Water
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: climate–change; glacier mass balance; himalayan glaciology; himalayan hydroclimate; third pole environment
Department/Centre: Division of Interdisciplinary Sciences > Interdisciplinary Centre for Water Research
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2022 05:13
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2022 05:13
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/76404

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