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Conflicting Signals of Climatic Change in the Upper Indus Basin

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Hayley Fowler, David Archer



The mountainous region of the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) stretches from the Hindu Kush Range on the borders of Afghanistan through the Karakoram Range to the western margins of the Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas. An analysis of temperature data from six stations within the UIB and one within the neighbouring Jhelum Basin reveals contrasting trends. At some stations there is evidence of long-term warming with a significant trend of 0.07oC per decade since 1894, which has increased to 0.19oC since 1961. At other stations there have been equally high rates of cooling since 1961. These differences are related to change in maximum and minimum temperature. The greatest warming rates are found in winter, with large increases in winter maxima of up to 0.51oC decade-1 since 1961, a feature that is common within the Northern Hemisphere and suggesting a relationship between regional and global climate. In summer months there has been a cooling trend since 1961, with negative trend in both temperature minima and maxima which may be related to increasing summer rainfall. This is likely to have a critical effect upon the summer availability of water resources as these are strongly correlated with summer temperature. A large increase in diurnal temperature range is found throughout the year, resulting from asymmetric trends in maximum and minimum temperature. Whilst explanation of these trends remains incomplete, the shared response with the north-west Indian sub-continent suggests a regional or latitudinal effect associated with large scale climatic processes related to changes in the monsoon circulation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fowler HJ, Archer DR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Climate

Year: 2006

Volume: 19

Issue: 17

Pages: 4276–4293

Print publication date: 01/09/2006

Date deposited: 12/05/2010

ISSN (print): 0894-8755

ISSN (electronic): 1520-0442

Publisher: American Meteorological Society


DOI: 10.1175/JCLI3860.1


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