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Snow and Ice melt contributions in a highly glacierized catchment of Chhota Shigri Glacier (India) over the last five decades
- Farooq Azam, Mohd., Wagnon, P., Vincent, C., Ramanathan, AL., Kumar, N., Srivastava, S., Pottakkal, J.G., Chevallier, P.
- Journal of hydrology 2019
- air temperature, altitude, glaciers, ice, melting, models, rain, runoff, snowmelt, summer, watersheds, winter, India
- Glacier-wide mass balances and runoffs are reconstructed over 1969-2016 for Chhota Shigri Glacier catchment (India) applying a glacio-hydrological model. The model is forced using in-situ daily air-temperature and precipitation records from the meteorological stations at Bhuntar Observatory (1092 m a.s.l.), glacier base camp (3850 m a.s.l.) and glacier side moraine (4863 m a.s.l.). The modelled mean annual mass balance is −0.30±0.36 m w.e. a-1 (meter water equivalent per year), while the mean catchment-wide runoff is 1.56±0.23 m w.e. a-1 over 1969-2016. Three periods are distinguished in the reconstructed mass balance and runoff series. Periods I (1969−1985) and III (2001−2016) show glacier mass wastage at rates of −0.36 and −0.50 m w.e. a−1, respectively, corresponding to catchment-wide runoffs of 1.51 and 1.65 m w.e. a-1, respectively. Conversely, period II (1986−2000) exhibits steady-state conditions with average mass balances of −0.01 m w.e. a−1, and corresponding runoff of 1.52 m w.e. a-1. The reduced ice melt (0.20 m w.e. a-1) over period II, in agreement with steady-state conditions, is compensated by the increased snow melt (1.03 m w.e. a-1), providing almost similar catchment-wide runoffs for period I and II. The increased runoff after 2000 is mainly governed by increased ice melt (0.32 m w.e. a-1) over period III. Snow accumulation in winter and summer seasons together control the glacier-wide mass balances as well as catchment-wide runoffs. Snow melt contributes the maximum to the total mean annual runoff with 63% share while glacier melt and rain contribute 17% and 20% respectively over the whole period.