The impact of climate change on the hydro-climatology of the Indian subcontinent is investigated by comparing statistics of current and projected future fluxes resulting from three RCP scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, and RCP8.5). Climate projections from the CORDEX-South Asia framework have been bias-corrected using the Distribution-Based Scaling (DBS) method and used to force the HYPE hydrological model to generate projections of evapotranspiration, runoff, soil moisture deficit, snow depth, and applied irrigation water to soil. We also assess the changes in the annual cycles in three major rivers located in different hydro-climatic regions. Results show that conclusions can be influenced by uncertainty in the RCP scenarios. Future scenarios project a gradual increase in temperature (up to 7 °C on average), whilst changes (both increase and decrease) in the long-term average precipitation and evapotranspiration are more severe at the end of the century. The potential change (increase and decrease) in runoff could reach 100% depending on the region and time horizon. Analysis of annual cycles for three selected regions showed that changes in discharge and evapotranspiration due to climate change vary between seasons, whereas the magnitude of change is dependent on the region’s hydro-climatic gradient. Irrigation needs and the snow depth in the Himalayas are also affected.
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