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

DOI: 10.4236/ns.2013.59120   PDF   HTML     4,672 Downloads   6,547 Views   Citations


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.

Share and Cite:

Khalid, S. , Rehman, S. , Shah, S. , Naz, A. , Saeed, B. , Alam, S. , Ali, F. and Gul, H. (2013) Hydro-meteorological characteristics of Chitral River basin at the peak of the Hindukush range. Natural Science, 5, 987-992. doi: 10.4236/ns.2013.59120.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] IPCC (2001) Climate change. The IPCC 3rd assessment report. In: Houghton, J.T., Ding, Y., Griggs, D., Noguet, M., Vander Linden, P., Dai, X., Maskell, K. and Johnson, C.A., Eds., The Scientific Basis, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[2] Kundzewicz, Z.W., Mata, L.J., Arnell, N.W., Doll, P., Kabat, P., Jiménez, B., Miller, K.A., Oki, T., Sen, Z. and Shiklomanov, I.A. (2007) Freshwater resources and their mana gement. In: Parry, M., Canziani, O., Palutikof, J. and van der Linden, P., Eds., Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, 173-210.
[3] Allen, M.R. and Ingram, W.J. (2002) Constraints on future changes in climate and the hydrological cycle. Nature, 419, 224-232. doi:10.1038/nature01092
[4] Nijssen, B., O’Donnell, G.M., Hamlet, A.F. and Lettenmaier, D.P. (2001) Hydrologic sensitivity of global rivers to climate change. Climate Change, Kluwer Academic Publishers (Netherlands), 50, 143-175.
[5] Groisman, P.Ya., Knight, R.W., Karl, T.R., Easterling, D.R., Sun, B. and Lawrimore, J.H. (2004) Contemporary changes of the hydrological cycle over the contiguous United States: Trends derived from in situ observations. Hydrometeorology, 5, 64-85.
[6] Karl, T.R. and Knight, R.W. (1998) Secular trends of precipitation amount, frequency, and intensity in the United States. Bulletin of American Meteorology Society, 79, 231-241. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1998)079<0231:STOPAF>2.0.CO;2
[7] Ayers, M.A., Wolock, D.M., McCabe, G.J., Hay, L.E. and Tasker, G.D. (1994) Sensitivity of water resources in the Delaware River Basin US Geological Survey Water-Supply. 2422 US, Geological Survey, Reston.
[8] Gleick, E.H. (1986) Methods for evaluating the regional hydrological impact of global climatic changes. Hydrology, 88, 97-116.
[9] Gleick, E.H. (1987) Regional hydrologic consequences of increases of atmospheric CO2 and other trace gases. Climatic Change, 110, 137-161. doi:10.1007/BF00140252
[10] Gleick, P.H. (1999) Studies from the water sector of the national assessment. American. Water Resources Associates, 35, 1297-130. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.1999.tb04216.x
[11] Lettenmaier, D.P. and Gan, T.Y. (1990) Hydrologic sensitivities of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River basin: Caldornia, to global warming. Water Resources Resident, 26, 69-86.
[12] Mather, J.R. and Feddema, J. (1986) Hydrologic conesquences of increases in trace gases and CO2 in the atmosphere, in Effects of changes in stratospheric ozone and global climate. Washington DC, US Environmental Protection Agency. Climate Change, 3, 251-271.
[13] McCabe, G.J. and Ayers, M.A. (1989) Hydrologic effects of climate change in the Delaware Kver basin. Water Resource Bulletin, 25, 1231-1242. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.1989.tb01335.x
[14] Nemec, J. and Schaake, J.S. (1982) Sensitivity of water resources systems to climate variation. Hydrology Science, 27, 327-343. doi:10.1080/02626668209491113
[15] Schaake, J.S. (1990) From climate to flow. In: Waggoner, P.E., Ed., Climate Change and US Water Resources, John Wiley, New York, 177-206.
[16] Rehman, S.S., Sabir, M.A. and Khan, J. (1997) Discharge characteristics and suspended load from rivers of northern Indus basin, Pakistan. Geology Bulletin University of Peshawar, 30, 325-336.
[17] Pant G.B. and Rupa Kumar, K. (1997) Climates of South Asia. Johan Wiley and Sons Ltd., Baffins Lane, Chichester, 219-224.
[18] Rasul, G., Chaudhry, Q.Z., Mahmood, A., Hyder, K.W. and Qin D.H. (2011) Glaciers and glacial lakes under changing climate in Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Meteorology, 8, 1-8.
[19] Barry, R.G. (2002) Mountain climate change and cryospheric responses: A review. In: Berger, T., Ed., Mountain of the World, Proceedings of the World Mountain Symposium (WMS 2001). Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Bern.
[20] Shakir, A.S., Rehman, H. and Ehsan, S. (2010) Climate change impact on river flow in Chitral watershed. Pakistan Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 7, 1223.
[21] Sabir, M.A. (1996) Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the suspended sediment from rivers of NWFP. M.Phil, Thesis, NCE in Geology, University of Peshawar, 88.
[22] WAPDA (1997b) Golgen Golhydel power project, Chitral: Feasibility study report. Hydroelectric Planning Organization, Lahore, 2.
[23] Ferguson, R.I. (1984) Sediment load of the Hunza River. In: Miller, K.J., Ed., The International Karakoram Project, Cambridge University, 2, 580-598.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.