The “Centre for Cryosphere and Climate Change Studies” is attached with the Division.
Snow and glaciers covered area play an important role in the hydrology of glaciered basin. The permanent snow and glacier fields of the Himalaya act as a critical fresh water reservoir that release large quantity of freshwater throughout the year. The water yield from high Himalayan basin is considered as a dependable source of water supply for drinking, irrigation, hydroelectric power generation and for other miscellaneous purposes like recreation etc. All the major south Asian rivers originating from the Himalayas are fed by the snow and glaciers melt water. Geographically from west to east, the Himalaya has been categorized in three parts, i.e., Western Himalayas, the Central Himalayas and the Eastern Himalayas, on the basis of their latitudes and topographic features. The Indian part of Himalaya has three main river systems namely; Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra, which are the lifeline of millions of people of northern India.
The snow cover in the Himalaya varies from western to eastern Himalaya and subsequently affect the flow regime of the rivers. The northern part of western Himalaya receives more snowfall and less rainfall as compared to eastern Himalaya, where the rainfall contribution is significant. Along with the seasonal snow Himalayan glaciers are also have huge storage and very important source of fresh water. In the Himalaya, approximately 33,000 km2 area is covered by the glaciers of varying shapes and sizes. With a total number of 9,600 glaciers, the Indian Himalaya has one of the largest concentrations of glaciers after the Polar Regions.
The streamflow in Himalayan rivers is induced by a combined form of rainfall and snowfall and glacier-melt runoff. Melting from high Himalaya snow cover during early summer is a paramount source of water for many rivers originating from the Himalaya. It is roughly estimated that approximately 10 to 20% Himalayan area is covered by glacier ice, and about 30 to 40% area is covered by seasonal snow cover. The runoff from partially glaciered basin is characterized by extended lean flow season from October to February. The flow gradually increases during March and April with the snowmelt and advent of summer, and reaches higher levels of discharge during July and August.
Regional hydrologic studies suggest a decreases in snow and ice extent over the coming century will be most detrimental in the Indus and Brahmaputra watersheds because glacier runoff plays a significant role in these basins. It has been projected that ∼30%–88% of the present glacier ice volume could vanish in the Himalaya, indicating a major threat to water resources by 2100. To handle these issues, a Centre for Cryosphere and Climate Change Studies has been started at NIH.
The vision behind creation of Centre is to facilitate the effective management of snow and glacier resources in the country to address the concern of water availability. The proposed Centre is aimed to take care of issue of water availability in future under climate change scenarios. Snow and glacier change dynamics vis-a-vis climate change will also be area of concern of the Centre.
The Centre for cryosphere and climate change studies have the following objectives:
- To foster, promote and sustain a scientific culture in the snow and glacier studies including impact of climate change.
- Development of a novel framework for ensemble simulations by integrating different snow-glacio hydrological models to account the overall water balance including snow and glacier melt runoff.
- Assessment of changes in snow-glacier dynamics and their impacts on melt runoff.
- Analysing the impact of climate change on snow-glacier hydrology in Himalaya utilizing CMIP5/CMIP6 multi-model experimental scenarios.
- To collaborate with Indian and International research organisations/ universities, including Southeast Asian and SAARC member countries, on snow and glacier research.
- To collaborate with State governments and the other organisations working in the area of snow and glacier studies in organising workshops, awareness and trainings on snow and glacier aspects.
- To provide consultancy to the users and hydro-electric project (HEP) implementing agencies / authorities in safe designing of project.
- To help building bridges among other research groups, academia, policy makes, and general public to pioneer new approaches.
- Long term planning for water sustainability under climate uncertainty in the downstream regions through hydro-climatological modelling in Himalaya.
Name of Head: Dr. Sanjay Kr. Jain
Designation: Scientist-G & Head
Office Address: Room No.C-108, Lab Block, Jal Vigyan Bhawan, NIH, Roorkee
Email: Email: sjain[dot]nihr[at]gov[dot]in