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Modelling 60 years of glacier mass balance and runoff for Chhota Shigri Glacier, Western Himalaya, Northern India



Glacier mass balance and runoff are simulated from 1955 to 2014 for the catchment (46% glacier cover) containing Chhota Shigri Glacier (Western Himalaya) using gridded data from three regional climate models: (1) the Rossby Centre regional atmospheric climate model v.4 (RCA4); (2) the REgional atmosphere MOdel (REMO); and (3) the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF). The input data are downscaled to the simulation grid (300 m) and calibrated with point measurements of temperature and precipitation. Additional input is daily potential global radiation calculated using a DEM at a resolution of 30 m. The mass-balance model calculates daily snow accumulation, melt and runoff. The model parameters are calibrated with available mass-balance measurements and results are validated with geodetic measurements, other mass-balance model results and run-off measurements. Simulated annual mass balances slightly decreased from −0.3 m w.e. a−1 (1955–99) to −0.6 m w.e. a−1 for 2000–14. For the same periods, mean runoff increased from 2.0 m3 s−1 (1955–99) to 2.4 m3 s−1 (2000–14) with glacier melt contributing about one-third to the runoff. Monthly runoff increases are greatest in July, due to both increased snow and glacier melt, whereas slightly decreased snowmelt in August and September was more than compensated by increased glacier melt.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Markus Engelhardt <>


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