Research Press Release

Decline of water availability from Himalayan glaciers unlikely

Nature Geoscience

August 5, 2013

Net glacier melt runoff from two glacierized watersheds in the Greater Himalaya will rise until at least 2050, as the glaciers retreat, suggests an article published online this week in Nature Geoscience. This work suggests that, in combination with projected increases in precipitation, water demands in the region are likely to be met for the next few decades.

Walter Immerzeel and colleagues combined simulations of the latest climate models with a high-resolution glacier-hydrology model to assess potential future changes in glacier melt runoff in two watersheds of the Greater Himalaya that currently experience different levels of rain and temperature. In both watersheds, the team report that river runoff is projected to be strong, but highly variable, throughout the twenty-first century. The largest uncertainty in future runoff originates from uncertainty in model-projected precipitation in the region.


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