Advertisement

Climate Change and Cryospheric Response Over North-West and Central Himalaya, India

  • H. S. NegiEmail author
  • A. Ganju
  • Neha Kanda
  • H. S. Gusain
Chapter

Abstract

This study summarizes the results of several climate studies conducted using field observed data of winter period over the North-West Himalaya (NWH) and Central Himalaya (CH). It also summarizes the latest conclusions about wintertime trends over NWH and its constitutive zones that have been drawn from the study conducted by Negi et al. (Curr Sci 114(4):760–770, 2018), which incorporates the results and inferences of all other studies as well. Wintertime climatic variability over CH has also been discussed for the first time in this study. The salient deductions are as under:
  • Overall warming trends in mean and maximum temperature of NWH (1991–2015) and CH (2001–2012) have been observed. In contrast to the situation at the global scale, the data of both NWH and CH reflect higher rate of warming in maximum temperature than minimum temperature. Consequently, there has been an increase in Diurnal Temperature Range (DTR) over both NWH and CH.

  • Regionally, long term (~30 years) warming trends have been observed in all zones of NWH except for the minimum temperature over the Lower Himalaya (LH) which shows cooling trends.

  • The rate of warming (mean temperature) is found to be highest in the Greater Himalaya (GH) than the Karakoram Himalaya (KH) and LH, which partly explains the higher rate of glacier melt in regions of GH than KH. In addition, no conclusive trends in Elevation Dependent Warming (EDW) were observed in NWH. 

  • Short term trends (2000–2015) depict cooling in maximum temperature of LH and GH, which though unexplained, may have some links with rising concentration of aerosols in atmosphere in recent decades as reported in a study by Krishnan and Ramanathan (Geophys Res Lett 29(9):54–1–54–4, 2002).

  • The cryosphere of NWH and CH show heterogeneous behaviour to climate change.

  • Long term warming trends over LH, GH and CH have manifested in retreat of glaciers lying in these areas. Though KH also reports warming but this marginal increase in temperature field has not yet made a dent in KH where temperatures are still in subfreezing range even during ablation period. This obviously has resulted in less ablation indirectly implying marginal gain in mass, which has resulted in bringing more stability to the glaciated region of Karakoram Himalaya.

Keywords

Climate change Himalayas Cryosphere Snowcover Glacier EDW 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to technical staff of SASE for data collection from rugged terrain in extreme harsh climatic conditions. This work is carried out under DRDO project ‘Him-Parivartan’.

References

  1. Agarwal V, Bolch T, Syed TH, Pieczonka T, Strozzi T, Nagaich R (2017) Area and mass changes of Siachen glacier (East Karakoram). J Glaciol 63:148–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Azam MF, Wagnon P, Vincent C et al (2014) Reconstruction of the annual mass balance of Chhota Shigri glacier, Western Himalaya, India, since 1969. Ann Glaciol 55(66):69–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Azam MF, Wagnon P, Berthier E et al (2018) Review of the status and mass changes of Himalayan-Karakoram glaciers. J Glaciol 64(243):61–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bahugana M, Rathore BP (2014) Are the Himalayan glaciers retreating? Curr Sci 106(7):1008–1013Google Scholar
  5. Beniston M, Rebetez M (1996) Regional behavior of minimum temperatures in Switzerland for the period 1979–1993. Theor Appl Climatol 53:231–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beniston M, Diaz HF, Bradley RS (1997) Climatic change at high elevation sites: an overview. Clim Chang 36(3–4):233–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhutiyani MR, Kale VS, Pawar NJ (2007) Long-term trends in maximum, minimum and mean annual air temperatures across the Northwestern Himalaya during the twentieth century. Clim Chang 85:159–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bhutiyani MR, Kale VS, Pawar NJ (2010) Climate change and precipitation variations in the northwestern Himalaya: 1866–2006. Int J Climatol 30:535–548Google Scholar
  9. Bolch T, Kulkarni A, Kääb A et al (2012) The state and fate of Himalayan glaciers. Science 336:310–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Braganza K, Karoly DJ, Arblaster JM (2004) Diurnal temperature range as an index of global climate change during the twentieth century. Geophys Res Lett 31:L13217.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2004GL019998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen X, Cui P, Li Y, Yang Z and Qi Y (2007) Changes in glacial lakes and glaciers of post1986 in the Poiqu River basin, Nyalam, Xizang (Tibet). Geomorph 88(3): 298–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diaz HF, Bradley RS (1997) Temperature variations during the last century at high elevation sites. Clim Chang 36:253–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diaz H, Eischeid J (2007) Disappearing ‘alpine tundra’ Köppen climatic type in the western United States. Geophys Res Lett 34:L18707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dimri A, Dash S (2012) Wintertime climatic trends in the western Himalayas. Clim Chang 111:775–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gardelle J, Berthier E, Arnaud Y (2012) Slight mass gain of Karakoram glaciers in the early twenty-first century. Nat Geosci 5:322–325.  https://doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gardelle J, Berthier E, Arnaud Y, Kääb A (2013) Region-wide glacier mass balances over the Pamir-Karakoram-Himalaya during 1999–2011. Cryosphere 7:1263–1286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gurung DR, Maharjan SB, Shrestha AB et al (2017) Climate and topographic controls on snow cover dynamics in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Int J Climatol 37:3873–3882.  https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gusain HS, Mishra VD, Bhutiyani MR (2014) Winter temperature and snowfall trends in the cryospheric region of north-west Himalaya. Mausam 65(3):425–432Google Scholar
  19. Gusain HS, Kala M, Ganju A et al (2015) Observations of snow-meteorological parameters in Gangotri glacier region. Curr Sci 109(11):2116–2120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hasenauer H, Merganicova K, Petritsch R et al (2003) Validating daily climate interpolations over complex terrain in Austria. Agric For Meteorol 119:87–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hasson S, Böhner J, Lucarini V (2014) Early 21st century snow cover state over the western river basins of the Indus River system. Hydrol Earth Syst Sci 18:4077–4100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Immerzeel WW, Droogers P, de Jong SM, Bierkens MF (2009) Large scale monitoring of snow cover and runoff simulation in Himalayan river basins using remote sensing. Remote Sens Environ 113:40–49.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2008.08.010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kääb A, Berthier E, Nuth C et al (2012) Contrasting patterns of early twenty-first-century glacier mass change in the Himalayas. Nature 488(7412):495–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Krishnan R, Ramanathan V (2002) Evidence of surface cooling from absorbing aerosols. Geophys Res Lett 29(9):54–1–54–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kulkarni AV (2007) Effect of global warming on the Himalayan cryosphere. Jalvigyan Sameeksha 22:93–108Google Scholar
  26. Kulkarni AV, Karyakarte Y (2014) Observed changes in Himalayan glaciers. Curr Sci 106(2):237–244Google Scholar
  27. Kumar P, Kotlarski S, Moseley C et al (2015) Response of Karakoram-Himalayan glaciers to climate variability and climatic change: a regional climate model assessment. Geophys Res Lett 42:1818–1825.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL063392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu X, Cheng Z, Yan L, Yin Z (2009) Elevation dependency of recent and future minimum surface air temperature trends in the Tibetan Plateau and its surroundings. Glob Planet Chang 68:164–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Madhura RK, Krishnan R, Revadekar JV, Mujumdar M, Goswami BN (2015) Changes in western disturbances over the Western Himalayas in a warming environment. Clim Dyn 44:1157–1168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McGuire CR, Nufio CR, Bowers MD, Guralnick RP (2012) Elevation-dependent temperature trends in the Rocky Mountain Front Range: changes over a 56- and 20-year record. PLoS One 7(9):12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Negi HS, Datt P, Thakur NK, Ganju A, Bhatia VK, Vinay Kumar G (2017) Observed spatio-temporal changes of winter snow albedo over the north-west Himalaya. Int J Climatol 37(5):2304–2317.  https://doi.org/10.1002/joc.4846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Negi HS, Kanda N, Shekhar MS, Ganju A (2018) Recent wintertime climatic variability over North West Himalayan cryosphere. Curr Sci 114(4):760–770CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pepin NC, Seidel DJ (2005) A global comparison of surface and free-air temperatures at high elevations. J Geophys Res 110:D03104.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2004JD005047CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rangwala I, Miller J, Xu M (2009) Warming in the Tibetan Plateau: possible influences of the changes in surface water vapor. Geophys Res Lett 36:L06703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rasmussen R, Baker B, Kochendorfer J et al (2012) How well are we measuring snow? Bull Am Meteorol Soc 93:811–829.  https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00052.1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Saurabh V, Braun M (2016) Elevation change rates of glaciers in the Lahaul-Spiti (Western Himalaya, India) during 2000–2012 and 2012–2013. Remote Sens 8:1038CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Scherler D, Bookhagen B, Strecker MR (2011) Spatially variable response of Himalayan glaciers to climate change affected by debris cover. Nat Geosci 4:156–159.  https://doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1068CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schild A (2008) ICIMOD’s position on climate change and mountain systems. Mt Res Dev 28:328–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schneider S (1990) The global warming debate heats up: an analysis and perspective. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 71:1292–1304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sharma SS, Ganju A (2000) Complexities of avalanche forecasting in Western Himalaya – an overview. Cold Reg Sci Technol 31:95–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shekhar MS, Chand H, Kumar S, Srinivasan K, Ganju A (2010) Climate-change studies in the western Himalaya. Ann Glaciol 51(54):105–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shekhar MS, Devi U, Paul S et al (2017) Analysis of trends in extreme precipitation events over Western Himalaya region: intensity and duration wise study. J Indian Geophys Union 21(3):225–231Google Scholar
  43. Singh SK, Rathore BP, Bahugana IM, Ajai (2014) Snow cover variability in Himalayan Tibetan region. Int J Climatol 34:446–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Singh D, Sharma V, Juyal V (2015) Observed linear trend in few surface weather elements over the Northwest Himalayas (NWH) during winter season. J Earth Syst Sci 124:553–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sirguey P, Still H, Cullen NJ et al (2016) Reconstructing the mass balance of Brewster glacier, New Zealand, using MODIS-derived glacier-wide albedo. Cryosphere 10:2465–2484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stahl K, Moore RD, Floyer JA et al (2006) Comparison of approaches for spatial interpolation of daily air temperature in a large region with complex topography and highly variable station density. Agric For Meteorol 139:224–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stocker TF, Qin D, Plattner GK et al (2013) Summary for policymakers of climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Strachan S, Kelsey EP, Brown RF et al (2016) Filling the data gaps in mountain climate observatories through advanced technology, refined instrument siting, and a focus on gradients. Mt Res Dev 36(4):518–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thompson LG (2000) Ice core evidence for climate changes in the tropics: implications for our future. Quat Sci Rev 19:19–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tudoroiu M, Eccel E, Gioli B et al (2016) Negative elevation-dependent warming trend in the Eastern Alps. Environ Res Lett 11:12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yadav RR, Park WK, Singh J and Dubey B (2004) Do the western Himalayas defy global warming? Geophys Res Lett, 31, L17201;  https://doi.org/10.1029/2004GL020201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wilks DS (1995) Statistical methods in the atmospheric sciences, 2nd edn. Academic, San Diego, p 467Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. S. Negi
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Ganju
    • 1
  • Neha Kanda
    • 1
  • H. S. Gusain
    • 1
  1. 1.Snow and Avalanche Study EstablishmentChandigarhIndia

Personalised recommendations