Publication Details

Reference Category Journals
DOI / URL link
Title (Primary) Glacier melt buffers river runoff in the Pamir Mountains
Author Pohl, E.; Gloaguen, R.; Andermann, C.; Knoche, M.;
Journal Water Resources Research
Year 2017
Department CATHYD;
Volume 53
Issue 3
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T34;
Keywords model upscaling; remote sensing; glacier mass balance; water sustainability; Central Asia
UFZ wide themes RU2;
Abstract Newly developed approaches based on satellite altimetry and gravity measurements provide promising results on glacier dynamics in the Pamir-Himalaya but cannot resolve short-term natural variability at regional and finer scale. We contribute to the ongoing debate by upscaling a hydrological model that we calibrated for the central Pamir. The model resolves the spatiotemporal variability in runoff over the entire catchment domain with high efficiency. We provide relevant information about individual components of the hydrological cycle and quantify short-term hydrological variability. For validation, we compare the modeled total water storages (TWS) with GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) data with a very good agreement where GRACE uncertainties are low. The approach exemplifies the potential of GRACE for validating even regional scale hydrological applications in remote and hard to access mountain regions. We use modeled time series of individual hydrological components to characterize the effect of climate variability on the hydrological cycle. We demonstrate that glaciers play a twofold role by providing roughly 35% of the annual runoff of the Panj River basin and by effectively buffering runoff both during very wet and very dry years. The modeled glacier mass balance (GMB) of −0.52 m w.e. yr−1 (2002–2013) for the entire catchment suggests significant reduction of most Pamiri glaciers by the end of this century. The loss of glaciers and their buffer functionality in wet and dry years could not only result in reduced water availability and increase the regional instability, but also increase flood and drought hazards.
ID 18825
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Pohl, E., Gloaguen, R., Andermann, C., Knoche, M. (2017):
Glacier melt buffers river runoff in the Pamir Mountains
Water Resour. Res. 53 (3), 2467 - 2489