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Trend analysis of climatic variables and their relation to snow cover and water availability in the Central Himalayas: a case study of Langtang Basin, Nepal

Abstract

This paper investigates the long-term monthly, seasonal, and annual trends of climatic variables, snow cover extent, and discharge in Langtang Basin, Central Himalayas. The Mann-Kendall test with variance corrections is used to detect the trend, and Sen’s slope estimator is calculated to quantify the trend. The innovative trend analysis, a graphical method for trend detection, is applied, and the results are compared. The snow cover extent for the study area was derived from moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite images. The result suggests that there is a significant increasing trend for mean temperature and minimum temperature, while no remarkable trend is identified for maximum temperature. Similarly, precipitation shows a rising trend for all seasons except winter. Snow cover is a major source of fresh water for the region and is depleting at an alarming rate. River discharge, augmented by snowmelt and high rainfall, is upsurging. In summary, this study portrays the links of climatic variables with snow cover and river discharge. The outcome of this study will be useful for understanding the climate change status in the Central Himalayas and sustainably managing the watershed.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to express our thanks to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Nepal, for providing hydrological and meteorological data for the study.

Funding

This study was supported by the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (No. 2016TS08).

Author information

Correspondence to Hong Qi or Kun Wang.

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Thapa, S., Li, B., Fu, D. et al. Trend analysis of climatic variables and their relation to snow cover and water availability in the Central Himalayas: a case study of Langtang Basin, Nepal. Theor Appl Climatol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-020-03096-5

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Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Himalayas
  • Innovative trend analysis
  • Mann-Kendall
  • Trend