Changes in seasonal snow cover in Hindu Kush-Himalayan region
D. R. Gurung1, A. V. Kulkarni2, A. Giriraj1, K. S. Aung1, B. Shrestha1, and J. Srinivasan21International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), P.O. Box 3226, Kathmandu, Nepal 2Divecha Center for Climate Change, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, India
Received: 09 Feb 2011 – Accepted for review: 11 Feb 2011 – Discussion started: 02 Mar 2011
Abstract. The changes in seasonal snow covered area in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region have been examined using Moderate – resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) 8-day standard snow products. The average snow covered area of the HKH region based on satellite data from 2000 to 2010 is 0.76 million km2 which is 18.23% of the total geographical area of the region. The linear trend in annual snow cover from 2000 to 2010 is −1.25±1.13%. This is in consistent with earlier reported decline of the decade from 1990 to 2001. A similar trend for western, central and eastern HKH region is 8.55±1.70%, +1.66% ± 2.26% and 0.82±2.50%, respectively. The snow covered area in spring for HKH region indicates a declining trend (−1.04±0.97%). The amount of annual snowfall is correlated with annual seasonal snow cover for the western Himalaya, indicating that changes in snow cover are primarily due to interannual variations in circulation patterns. Snow cover trends over a decade were also found to vary across seasonally and the region. Snow cover trends for western HKH are positive for all seasons. In central HKH the trend is positive (+15.53±5.69%) in autumn and negative (−03.68±3.01) in winter. In eastern HKH the trend is positive in summer (+3.35±1.62%) and autumn (+7.74±5.84%). The eastern and western region of HKH has an increasing trend of 10% to 12%, while the central region has a declining trend of 12% to 14% in the decade between 2000 and 2010. Snow cover depletion curve plotted for the hydrological year 2000–2001 reveal peaks in the month of February with subsidiary peaks observed in November and December in all three regions of the HKH.
Gurung, D. R., Kulkarni, A. V., Giriraj, A., Aung, K. S., Shrestha, B., and Srinivasan, J.: Changes in seasonal snow cover in Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, The Cryosphere Discuss., 5, 755-777, doi:10.5194/tcd-5-755-2011, 2011.