Current Status and Future Projections of the Snow Depth in the Third Pole from CMIP5 Global Climate Models
The Tibetan plateau and the Hindu-Kush Karakoram Himalaya mountains, with mean elevation above 4,000 m a.s.l., are the world’s largest snow and ice reservoir outside the polar regions and they are often referred to as the “Third Pole”. These mountains provide water to about 1.5 billion people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan, and changes in snow dynamics would impact on water availability for downstream populations. Despite its importance, the knowledge on the snow dynamics in the Third Pole region is still incomplete, due to difficult and sporadic surface observations. In this work we investigate how CMIP5 Global Climate Model (GCM) simulations represent the snowpack in the Third Pole environment and we compare the results to the ERA-Interim/Land reanalysis. Then we discuss the historical snow depth trends and the projections for the XXI century under RCP8.5 scenario.
KeywordsSnow depth Climate change CMIP5 global climate models Third pole Hindu-Kush Karakorum Himalaya
This work was funded by the Ev-K2-CNR SHARE-PAPRIKA-Karakoram project and by the NextData project of the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (http://www.nextdataproject.it).
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