South Asia is home to 54 rivers of varying sizes linked to the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins.
Photo: Saleem Shaikh/SciDevNet

14.09.2018

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A wetter future awaits South Asia, says a new study based on global climate change models that informed the fifth assessment report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The South Asia region will see a 20 to 30 per cent increase in mean annual runoff for the period 2046-2075 relative to the study baseline period of 1976-2005, says Hongxing Zheng, corresponding author of the study  “Future climate and runoff projections across South Asia from CMIP5 global climate models and hydrological modelling”, published in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies. The study was carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia.

“We also discovered that the percentage change in precipitation may amplify by 1.5 to two per cent in wet areas and by more than two per cent in dry areas,” Hongxing told SciDev.Net.

South Asia is home to 54 rivers of varying sizes linked to the Indus, Ganges and Brahmaputra river basins, all originating in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. While the Indus basin connects China with Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, the Brahmaputra and Ganges basins connect Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India and Nepal.

 “A spike in mean annual runoff of about ten per cent is projected for the Indus, Tibetan Plateau and Arakan Coast regions, and about 15 per cent in the Ganges-Brahmaputra, Deccan Plateau and Ghats Coast regions,” Hongxing says, adding that the spike will be over 20 per cent in the Narmada-Tapti region and Sri Lanka.

The change will be driven by higher temperatures from global warming, leading to more rain, according to the study.

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