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Understanding Hydrology of Indian Himalayan Landscapes—A Review

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Soil-Water, Agriculture, and Climate Change

Abstract

Melt water from the glaciers and snow over the Himalayan mountainous range plays a vital role in the river hydrology where more than 200 million of people consume this water for domestic and agricultural purposes. The hydrology of this high-altitude glaciated range is quite complex and from a water resources management perspective a comprehensive hydrometeorological modeling system is mandatory to project the hydrological changes in response to climate change. Climate change has an impact on the basic components that control the formation and melting of glaciers and snow cover, consequently impacting the livelihood, hydropower generation, and agricultural practices. Several hydrological models from lumped to fully distributed, have been developed to understand the complex hydrological behavior of the Himalayan region, however, the impacts of climate change on the hydrology of the Himalayan region are still ambiguous. Some researchers agree with glaciers expansion while others showed a glacier retreat. Such contradictory views in the climate and glaciers threaten future water management and sustainability of water resources. The choice of hydrological models is purely dependent on the availability of the datasets and the goals to be achieved. Lack of in-situ meteorological datasets is one of the biggest challenges that researchers must face while estimating the hydrological variables. Satellite-based meteorological products, to some extent, provide a reasonable replacement of in-situ data but cascade the uncertainties in the final outputs. This chapter aims to demonstrate the complexity and understanding of the hydrology of Himalayan regions, and the challenges to developing the hydrological models in the Himalayan region.

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Correspondence to Manish Singh Rana .

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Rana, M.S., Panda, M.R., Mehboob, M.S., Kim, Y., Mahanta, C. (2022). Understanding Hydrology of Indian Himalayan Landscapes—A Review. In: Dubey, S.K., Jha, P.K., Gupta, P.K., Nanda, A., Gupta, V. (eds) Soil-Water, Agriculture, and Climate Change. Water Science and Technology Library, vol 113. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-12059-6_1

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