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Hydro-meteorological characteristics of Chitral River basin at the peak of the Hindukush range

DOI: 10.4236/ns.2013.59120, PP. 987-992

Keywords: Mean Maximum Temperature, Mean Rainfall, River Discharge, Climate Change, Chitral

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Abstract:

This paper presents the impact of mean maximum temperature on Chitral river basin situated at Chitral district and high altitude (>6000 m) peaks of the Hindukush range under changing climate in Pakistan. The analysis of Chitral River as one of the tributary of Kabul River—the second largest river of Pakistan—revealed that change in temperature has a profound influence on the snow/glacial melt in comparison to the mean monthly rainfall. This is because the studied river is faded by the snow and glacial melt and receives a lot of snowfall from winter (DecFeb) to pre-monsoon (April-May). In monsoon period (Jul-Sep), 30% of the time the discharge rate remains above the mean while 60% of the time the discharge is less than the mean in the pre-monsoon (April-May) period. It means that 10% of the time the discharge is in reach of 300% to 900% of the mean flow, showing a rise in water yield and river discharge rate due to increase in mean monthly maximum temperature. Due to this significant increase (p < 0.05), the glaciers start melting faster and disappear in early summer, hence, reducing their residency period to convert into ice. This shows the signals of changing climate transfer into hydrological changes in Pakistan. Our findings are important for agriculture, hydropower and water management sectors for future planning especially in dry season for sustainable food security and for operation of ydrological installations in the country.

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