Review of the implications of changing climate on the water productivity of Himalayan Glaciers

Document Type : Original Article


1 Water Resources Management Center, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, J&K, India

2 Water Resources Management Centre, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, India

3 Water Resources Management Centre, National institute of Technology, Srinagar, India

4 Department of Water Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran



The Himalayas are one of the important and highest mountain ranges of the world spread over several countries. The region is rich in biodiversity and water resources. It is known as the third pole because of the largest glacier and ice reserve outside the two poles. This complex zone is highly critical and sensitive to the temperature fluctuations which is clearly visible in the changing dynamics of the glaciers present in the Himalayan region. Glaciers are an ideal sensor in this highly glaciated region to detect the causes and impacts of global warming. They form the backbone of this ecosystem especially the economy which makes the studies of the glaciers and climate change more important. This paper reviews the changing climatic scenario of the region with emphasis on the impacts on the glacier reserves. Various research findings have been put forth such as changing stream flows, decreased precipitation, increased frequency of extreme climate events, glacier shrinkage, expansion of glacier lakes and the glacier lake outburst floods. This detailed review of the previous studies will help in formulating the required strategies and management practices in the Himalayan region especially the water resources.