Special Issue "Climates of the Himalayas: Present, Past and Future"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Climatology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Böhner
Website
Guest Editor
Chair of Physical Geography, Institute of Geography, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Germany
Interests: Regional climate and environmental modelling; Climate impact research; Geoinformatics and remote sensing; SAGA-GIS development
Dr. Shabeh ul Hasson
Website
Guest Editor
Section Physical Geography, Institute of Geography, Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Germany
Interests: GIS & Remote Sensing; Regional Climate Modeling (WRF); Tibet and the Himalya

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Extending from the eastern Tibetan Himalaya to the Hindukush and Karakoram ranges in the northwest, the 2400-kilometer long Himalayan arc ensures the food-water-energy security, sustainable development and socio-economic wellbeing of billions of downstream inhabitants. Earth’s highest mountain range modulates distinct largescale atmospheric modes, affects all scopes of boundary layer dynamics and subsequently features an enormous topoclimatic heterogeneity, rarely covered by sparse observational record. Despite recent extensions in the observational networks, increased availability of remotely sensed datasets, swelling paleoclimatic reconstructions, and advances in convection-permitting climate modelling, detailed understanding of physical topoclimatic processes and their feedbacks, shifts in the prevailing precipitation regimes and their controls, and subsequent impacts on mountainous ecosystems remains elusive across times and scales. This pose a wide range of scientific challenges in understanding the Himalayan climate system of the past, present and future, their shifts and their severe impacts on all dependent sectors of life.

Against this background, this special issue invites observation, proxy reconstruction, and projections based analytical and modelling studies and their reviews that advance our knowledge about the past, present and future of the Himalayan climates, their shifts, and their subsequent impacts on all dimensions of life at local and regional scales. To broaden the regional focus and to enable comparative studies, articles on the Himalayas and its bordering high mountain ranges including the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and the Tibetan Plateau are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Böhner
Dr. Shabeh ul Hasson
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Appraisal of Climate Change and Its Impact on Water Resources of Pakistan: A Case Study of Mangla Watershed
Atmosphere 2020, 11(10), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11101071 - 09 Oct 2020
Abstract
Water resources are highly dependent on climatic variations. The quantification of climate change impacts on surface water availability is critical for agriculture production and flood management. The current study focuses on the projected streamflow variations in the transboundary Mangla Dam watershed. Precipitation and [...] Read more.
Water resources are highly dependent on climatic variations. The quantification of climate change impacts on surface water availability is critical for agriculture production and flood management. The current study focuses on the projected streamflow variations in the transboundary Mangla Dam watershed. Precipitation and temperature changes combined with future water assessment in the watershed are projected by applying multiple downscaling techniques for three periods (2021–2039, 2040–2069, and 2070–2099). Streamflows are simulated by using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the outputs of five global circulation models (GCMs) and their ensembles under two representative concentration pathways (RCPs). Spatial and temporal changes in defined future flow indexes, such as base streamflow, average flow, and high streamflow have been investigated in this study. Results depicted an overall increase in average annual flows under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 up until 2099. The maximum values of low flow, median flow, and high flows under RCP 4.5 were found to be 55.96 m3/s, 856.94 m3/s, and 7506.2 m3/s and under RCP 8.5, 63.29 m3/s, 945.26 m3/s, 7569.8 m3/s, respectively, for these ensembles GCMs till 2099. Under RCP 4.5, the maximum increases in maximum temperature (Tmax), minimum temperature (Tmin), precipitation (Pr), and average annual streamflow were estimated as 5.3 °C, 2.0 °C, 128.4%, and 155.52%, respectively, up until 2099. In the case of RCP 8.5, the maximum increase in these hydro-metrological variables was up to 8.9 °C, 8.2 °C, 180.3%, and 181.56%, respectively, up until 2099. The increases in Tmax, Tmin, and Pr using ensemble GCMs under RCP 4.5 were found to be 1.95 °C, 1.68 °C and 93.28% (2021–2039), 1.84 °C, 1.34 °C, and 75.88%(2040–2069), 1.57 °C, 1.27 °C and 72.7% (2070–2099), respectively. Under RCP 8.5, the projected increases in Tmax, Tmin, and Pr using ensemble GCMs were found as 2.26 °C, 2.23 °C and 78.65% (2021–2039), 2.73 °C, 2.53 °C, and 83.79% (2040–2069), 2.80 °C, 2.63 °C and 67.89% (2070–2099), respectively. Three seasons (spring, winter, and autumn) showed a remarkable increase in streamflow, while the summer season showed a decrease in inflows. Based on modeling results, it is expected that the Mangla Watershed will experience more frequent extreme flow events in the future, due to climate change. These results indicate that the study of climate change’s impact on the water resources under a suitable downscaling technique is imperative for proper planning and management of the water resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climates of the Himalayas: Present, Past and Future)
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Open AccessArticle
Spring Season in Western Nepal Himalaya is not yet Warming: A 400-Year Temperature Reconstruction Based on Tree-Ring Widths of Himalayan Hemlock (Tsuga dumosa)
Atmosphere 2020, 11(2), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11020132 - 24 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The Himalayan region has already witnessed profound climate changes detectable in the cryosphere and the hydrological cycle, already resulting in drastic socio-economic impacts. We developed a 619-yea-long tree-ring-width chronology from the central Nepal Himalaya, spanning the period 1399–2017 CE. However, due to low [...] Read more.
The Himalayan region has already witnessed profound climate changes detectable in the cryosphere and the hydrological cycle, already resulting in drastic socio-economic impacts. We developed a 619-yea-long tree-ring-width chronology from the central Nepal Himalaya, spanning the period 1399–2017 CE. However, due to low replication of the early part of the chronology, only the section after 1600 CE was used for climate reconstruction. Proxy climate relationships indicate that temperature conditions during spring (March–May) are the main forcing factor for tree growth of Tsuga dumosa at the study site. We developed a robust climate reconstruction model and reconstructed spring temperatures for the period 1600–2017 CE. Our reconstruction showed cooler conditions during 1658–1681 CE, 1705–1722 CE, 1753–1773 CE, 1796–1874 CE, 1900–1936 CE, and 1973 CE. Periods with comparably warmer conditions occurred in 1600–1625 CE, 1633–1657 CE, 1682–1704 CE, 1740–1752 CE, 1779–1795 CE, 1936–1945 CE, 1956–1972 CE, and at the beginning of the 21st century. Tropical volcanic eruptions showed only a sporadic impact on the reconstructed temperature. Also, no consistent temperature trend was evident since 1600 CE. Our temperature reconstruction showed positive teleconnections with March–May averaged gridded temperature data for far west Nepal and adjacent areas in Northwest India and on the Southwest Tibetan plateau. We found spectral periodicities of 2.75–4 and 40–65 years frequencies in our temperature reconstruction, indicating that past climate variability in central Nepal might have been influenced by large-scale climate modes, like the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climates of the Himalayas: Present, Past and Future)
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Open AccessArticle
Observed Changes in Temperature and Precipitation Extremes Over the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin during 1970–2017
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120815 - 15 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Twenty-five climate indices based on daily maximum and minimum temperature and precipitation at 15 meteorological stations were examined to investigate changes in temperature and precipitation extremes over the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin (1970–2017). The trend-free prewhitening (TFPW) Mann–Kendall test and Pettitt’s test were [...] Read more.
Twenty-five climate indices based on daily maximum and minimum temperature and precipitation at 15 meteorological stations were examined to investigate changes in temperature and precipitation extremes over the Yarlung Tsangpo River Basin (1970–2017). The trend-free prewhitening (TFPW) Mann–Kendall test and Pettitt’s test were used to identify trends and abrupt changes in the time series, respectively. The results showed widespread significant changes in extreme temperature indices associated with warming, most of which experienced abrupt changes in the 1990s. Increases in daily minimum and maximum temperature were detected, and the magnitude of daily minimum temperature change was greater than that of the daily maximum temperature, revealing an obvious decrease in the diurnal temperature range. Warm days and nights became more frequent, whereas fewer cold days and nights occurred. The frequency of frost and icing days decreased, while summer days and growing season length increased. Moreover, cold spell length shortened, whereas warm spell length increased. Additionally, changes in the precipitation extreme indices exhibited much less spatial coherence than the temperature indices. Spatially, mixed patterns of stations with positive and negative trends were found, and few trends in the precipitation extreme indices at individual stations were statistically significant. Generally, precipitation extreme indices showed a tendency toward wetter conditions, and the contribution of extreme precipitation to total precipitation has increased. However, no significant regional trends and abrupt changes were detected in total precipitation or in the frequency and duration of precipitation extremes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climates of the Himalayas: Present, Past and Future)
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Open AccessArticle
Appropriateness of Potential Evapotranspiration Models for Climate Change Impact Analysis in Yarlung Zangbo River Basin, China
Atmosphere 2019, 10(8), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10080453 - 08 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Evapotranspiration (ET) is an important element in the water and energy cycle. Potential evapotranspiration (PET) is an important measurement of ET. Its accuracy has significant influence on agricultural water management, irrigation planning, and hydrological modelling. However, whether current PET models are applicable under [...] Read more.
Evapotranspiration (ET) is an important element in the water and energy cycle. Potential evapotranspiration (PET) is an important measurement of ET. Its accuracy has significant influence on agricultural water management, irrigation planning, and hydrological modelling. However, whether current PET models are applicable under climate change or not, is still a question. In this study, five frequently used PET models were chosen, including one combination model (the FAO Penman-Monteith model, FAO-PM), two temperature-based models (the Blaney-Criddle and the Hargreaves models) and two radiation-based models (the Makkink and the Priestley-Taylor models), to estimate their appropriateness in the historical and future periods under climate change impact on the Yarlung Zangbo river basin, China. Bias correction methods were not only applied to the temperature output of Global Climate Models (GCMs), but also for radiation, humidity, and wind speed. It was demonstrated that the results from the Blaney-Criddle and Makkink models provided better agreement with the PET obtained by the FAO-PM model in the historical period. In the future period, monthly PET estimated by all five models show positive trends. The changes of PET under RCP8.5 are much higher than under RCP2.6. The radiation-based models show better appropriateness than the temperature-based models in the future, as the root mean square error (RMSE) value of the former models is almost half of the latter models. The radiation-based models are recommended for use to estimate PET under climate change in the Yarlung Zangbo river basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climates of the Himalayas: Present, Past and Future)
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