EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Climate change impact on precipitation-phase partitioning and streamflow for glacierized catchments in Nepal

Anju Vijayan Nair1, Sungwook Wi2, Colin Gleason2, Rijan Bhakta Kayastha3, and Efthymios I. Nikolopoulos1
Anju Vijayan Nair et al.
  • 1Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, United States of America
  • 2University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts, United States of America
  • 3Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Nepal

The change in climate, characterized by spatial and temporal variations in precipitation and temperature, significantly impacts the hydrological processes and water resources availability. Quantifying long-term changes in climatic variables and their effect on streamflow are crucial for understanding watershed hydrology and developing effective climate adaptation and water management strategies. In this study, we aim to quantify the changes in precipitation, temperature, and streamflow over the last 70 years (1950-2020) for two glacierized catchments in Nepal: Marsyangdi and Budigandaki River Basins. We utilize a distributed hydrological model (HYMOD_DS) forced by the most recent release of the ERA5 Land reanalysis product. Our investigation focuses on evaluating the impact of spatiotemporal changes in precipitation phases (either snow or rainfall) on streamflow characteristics. Specifically, we analyze the temporal trends and changes in the distribution of snow and rainfall and resulting streamflow separated into surface runoff and baseflow at daily and seasonal scales. The ERA5 Land reanalysis indicates a decrease in mean annual total precipitation for the period 1950-1980 and an increasing trend afterward. Annual mean temperature exhibits a rising trend for the entire period. Streamflow simulations for both basins revealed a significantly increased total flow over the last 20 years, primarily due to an increase in rainfall-induced streamflow. The results from this study will provide critical insight into the hydrology of glacierized basins and serve as a reference for water resources planning under climate change.

How to cite: Vijayan Nair, A., Wi, S., Gleason, C., Kayastha, R. B., and Nikolopoulos, E. I.: Climate change impact on precipitation-phase partitioning and streamflow for glacierized catchments in Nepal, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10735,, 2022.