Publication Abstracts

Rao et al. 2018

Rao, M.P., E.R. Cook, B.I. Cook, J.G. Palmer, M. Uriart, N. Devineni, U. Lall, R.D. D'Arrigo, C.A. Woodhouse, M. Ahmed, M.U. Zafar, N. Khan, A. Khan, and M. Wahab, 2018: Six centuries of Upper Indus Basin streamflow variability and its climatic drivers. Water Resour. Res., 54, no. 8, 5687-5701, doi:10.1029/2018WR023080.

Our understanding of the full range of natural variability in streamflow, including how modern flow compares to the past, is poorly understood for the Upper Indus Basin (UIB) because of short instrumental gauge records. To help address this challenge, we use Hierarchical Bayesian Regression (HBR) with partial pooling to develop six centuries long (1394-2008 C.E.) streamflow reconstructions at three UIB gauges (Doyian, Gilgit, and Kachora), concurrently demonstrating that HBR can be used to reconstruct short records with interspersed missing data. At one gauge (Partab Bridge), with a longer instrumental record (47 years), we develop reconstructions using both Bayesian Regression (BR) and the more conventionally used Principal Components Regression (PCR). The reconstructions produced by PCR and BR at Partab Bridge are nearly identical and yield comparable reconstruction skill statistics, highlighting that the resulting tree-ring reconstruction of streamflow is not dependent on the choice of statistical method. Reconstructions at all four reconstructions indicate flow levels in the 1990s were higher than mean flow for the past six centuries. While streamflow appears most sensitive to accumulated winter (January-March) precipitation and summer (MJJAS) temperature, with warm summers contributing to high flow through increased melt of snow and glaciers, shifts in winter precipitation and summer temperatures cannot explain the anomalously high flow during the 1990s. Regardless, the sensitivity of streamflow to summer temperatures suggests that projected warming may increase streamflow in coming decades, though long-term water risk will additionally depend on changes in snowfall and glacial mass balance.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Rao, M. P. and Cook, E. R. and Cook, B. I. and Palmer, J. G. and Uriart, M. and Devineni, N. and Lall, U. and D'Arrigo, R. D. and Woodhouse, C. A. and Ahmed, M. and Zafar, M. U. and Khan, N. and Khan, A. and Wahab, M.},
  title={Six centuries of Upper Indus Basin streamflow variability and its climatic drivers},
  journal={Water Resources Research},

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RIS Citation

ID  - ra05900r
AU  - Rao, M. P.
AU  - Cook, E. R.
AU  - Cook, B. I.
AU  - Palmer, J. G.
AU  - Uriart, M.
AU  - Devineni, N.
AU  - Lall, U.
AU  - D'Arrigo, R. D.
AU  - Woodhouse, C. A.
AU  - Ahmed, M.
AU  - Zafar, M. U.
AU  - Khan, N.
AU  - Khan, A.
AU  - Wahab, M.
PY  - 2018
TI  - Six centuries of Upper Indus Basin streamflow variability and its climatic drivers
JA  - Water Resour. Res.
JO  - Water Resources Research
VL  - 54
IS  - 8
SP  - 5687
EP  - 5701
DO  - 10.1029/2018WR023080
ER  -

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