Precipitation pattern in the Western Himalayas revealed by four datasets

Li, Hong; Haugen, Jan Erik; Xu, Chong-Yu

Data scarcity is the biggest problem for scientific research related to hydrology and climate studies in the Great Himalayas region. High-quality precipitation data are difficult to obtain due to a sparse network, cold climate and high heterogeneity in topography. In this paper, we examine four datasets in northern India of the Western Himalayas: interpolated gridded data based on gauge observations (IMD, inline-formula M1inlinescrollmathml normal 1 × normal 1 34pt11ptsvg-formulamathimg18e249d247dd6d35235fb683ecd82671 hess-22-5097-2018-ie00001.svg34pt11pthess-22-5097-2018-ie00001.png , and APHRODITE, inline-formula M2inlinescrollmathml normal 0.25 × normal 0.25 64pt11ptsvg-formulamathimgf481f239400653b061bfa4772852c553 hess-22-5097-2018-ie00002.svg64pt11pthess-22-5097-2018-ie00002.png ), reanalysis data (ERA-Interim, inline-formula M3inlinescrollmathml normal 0.75 × normal 0.75 64pt11ptsvg-formulamathimg861e648069b45d14625a7add9aea9f09 hess-22-5097-2018-ie00003.svg64pt11pthess-22-5097-2018-ie00003.png ) and high-resolution simulation by a regional climate model (WRF, inline-formula M4inlinescrollmathml normal 0.15 × normal 0.15 64pt11ptsvg-formulamathimga2a7e34c50b46b9cbc2f8e349860a657 hess-22-5097-2018-ie00004.svg64pt11pthess-22-5097-2018-ie00004.png ). The four datasets show a similar spatial pattern and temporal variation during the period 1981–2007, though the absolute values vary significantly (497–819 mm yearinline-formula−1). The differences are particularly large in July and August at the windward slopes and high-elevation areas. Overall, the datasets show that the summer is getting wetter and the winter is getting drier, though most of the trends in monthly precipitation are not significant. Trend analysis of summer and winter precipitation at every grids confirms the changes. Wetter summers will result in more and bigger floods in the downstream areas. Warmer and drier winters will result in less glacier accumulation. All the datasets show consistency in the period 1981–2007 and can give a spatial overview of the precipitation in the region. Comparing with the Bhuntar gauge data, the WRF dataset gives the best estimates of extreme precipitation. To conclude, we recommend the APHRODITE dataset and the WRF dataset for hydrological studies for their improved spatial variation which match the scale of hydrological processes as well as accuracy in extreme precipitation for flood simulation.



Li, Hong / Haugen, Jan Erik / Xu, Chong-Yu: Precipitation pattern in the Western Himalayas revealed by four datasets. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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