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Development of Threshold Levels and a Climate-Sensitivity Model of the Hydrological Regime of the High-Altitude Catchment of the Western Himalayas, Pakistan

1
Institute of International Rivers and Eco-Security, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, China
2
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan 66000, Pakistan
3
Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS University Islamabad, Abbottabad campus, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan
4
Department of Irrigation and Drainage, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad 380000, Pakistan
5
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154, USA
6
State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Lanzhou 730000, China
7
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
8
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Khwaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan 64200, Pakistan
9
Common Wealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization Land and Water, Canberra 2601, Australia
10
Key Laboratory of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071454
Received: 18 May 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 9 July 2019 / Published: 14 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evaluating Hydrological Responses to Climate Change)

Abstract

Water shortages in Pakistan are among the most severe in the world, and its water resources are decreasing significantly due to the prevailing hydro-meteorological conditions. We assessed variations in meteorological and hydrological variables using innovative trend analysis (ITA) and traditional trend analysis methods at a practical significance level, which is also of practical interest. We developed threshold levels of hydrological variables and developed a non-parametric climate-sensitivity model of the high-altitude catchment of the western Himalayas. The runoff of Zone I decreased, while the temperature increased and the precipitation increased significantly. In Zone II, the runoff and temperature increased but the precipitation decreased. A two-dimensional visualization of the Pardé coefficient showed extreme drought events, and indicated greater sensitivity of the hydrological regime to temperature than to precipitation. The threshold levels of runoff for Zones I and II were 320 and 363 mm using the Q80 fixed method, while the mean runoff amounts were estimated to be 79.95 and 55.61 mm, respectively. The transient threshold levels varied by month, and the duration of droughts in Zones I and II ranged from 26.39 to 78.98 days. The sensitivity of the hydrological regime was estimated based on a modified climate-elasticity model (εp = 0.11–0.23, εt = −0.04–2.39) for Zones I and II, respectively. These results highlight the sensitivity of the hydrological regime to temperature, which influences the melting process. However, it is important to establish thresholds for hydrological variables and understand the climate sensitivity of the hydrological regime of the entire basin, so that policy makers and water managers can make sustainable water-resource-management decisions for this region. View Full-Text
Keywords: drought severity; drought duration; precipitation sensitivity; temperature sensitivity; climate change drought severity; drought duration; precipitation sensitivity; temperature sensitivity; climate change
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Saifullah, M.; Liu, S.; Tahir, A.A.; Zaman, M.; Ahmad, S.; Adnan, M.; Chen, D.; Ashraf, M.; Mehmood, A. Development of Threshold Levels and a Climate-Sensitivity Model of the Hydrological Regime of the High-Altitude Catchment of the Western Himalayas, Pakistan. Water 2019, 11, 1454.

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