Glacio-Hydrological Degree-Day Model (GDM) Useful for the Himalayan River Basins

  • Rijan Bhakta KayasthaEmail author
  • Rakesh Kayastha


This chapter describes a Glacio-hydrological Degree-day Model (GDM) which uses degree-day factors for estimating snow and ice melt that calculates total discharge from a river. It is a physically based gridded glacio-hydrological model which is useful for the Himalayan river basins. The GDM is successfully used in the Marsyangdi River basin (MRB) and Trishuli River basin (TRB). The model is first calibrated and validated by using observed discharge over the period of 2004–2014. A long-term continuous simulation is then carried out for 2020–2100 in both basins. Results show that the model simulations are good. The Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) are 0.79 and 0.83 for the period of 2004–2007 in MRB and from 2007 to 2010 in TRB, respectively during the calibration period and 0.81 and 0.76, for the period of 2008–2010 in MRB and from 2011 to 2014 in TRB, respectively. The snow melt and ice melt contributions to total discharge in MRB are 15% and 13%, respectively whereas 12% and 16% in TRB for the calibration period. The Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs) 4.5 W m−2 scenario for the period of 2020–2100 shows an average increase of simulated discharge by 1.43 m3 s−1 per year and 0.25 m3 s−1 per year for MRB and TRB, respectively. Similarly, in RCP 8.5 the discharge increases by 0.71 m3/s per year and 0.94 m3 s−1 per year in MRB and TRB, respectively. The model can be used as a promising tool for the study of hydrological system dynamics and potential impacts of climate change on the Himalayan river basins.


Marsyangdi River basin Trishuli River basin Glacio-hydrological degree-day model River discharge Snow and ice melt 



Authors would like to thank the CHARIS (Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow) Project funded by United State Agency for International Development (USAID) for the financial support. We would also like to thank the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), Government of Nepal for providing the hydro-meteorological data and the reviewers Rajesh Kumar and Mohd. Farooq Azam of the manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Himalayan Cryosphere, Climate and Disaster Research Center (HiCCDRC), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of ScienceKathmandu UniversityDhulikhelNepal

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