Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Noah P. Molotch

Second Advisor

Richard Armstrong

Third Advisor

Jennifer Fluri

Fourth Advisor

Fengjing Liu

Fifth Advisor

Rijan B. Kayastha


The arc of High Mountain Asia (HMA) stretches for more than 4,000 km and is home to a large proportion of the world’s mid-latitude freshwater snow and ice resources. These resources contribute to domestic water supplies, irrigation, and hydropower generation, giving water a profound role in livelihoods and development in the region. There is associated uncertainty in the vulnerability of HMA water resources to climate change with respect to how the timing and volume of snowmelt and glacier melt may change as global air temperatures rise.

To better address questions of vulnerability, this work pursues different methods for identifying how much melt is sourced from snow (a renewable water resource) and how much is sourced from glacier ice (a non-renewable water resource) while also exploring the role groundwater storage plays in alpine hydrology. Using the Langtang River Basin of Nepal as a case study, both hydrochemistry-based hydrograph separation mixing model approaches and remote sensing-based melt modeling approaches are applied.

Based on five years of synoptic water chemistry sampling in the basin, End Member Mixing Analysis (EMMA) and Bayesian Monte Carlo (BMC) hydrochemistry methods agree that about one-fifth of the Upper Langtang Basin’s annual discharge is comprised of groundwater with a residence time of greater than one year. Two different temperature index melt models driven by both station data and remote sensing data fill out a high temporal resolution picture of the catchment’s melt regime.

Conducted under the auspices of the USAID funded CHARIS project (Contribution to High Asia Runoff from Ice and Snow), the scientific capacity-building achievements of the five-year project are documented as well. Surveys and interviews with research partners from 8 countries of HMA are utilized to offer insight into how international collaborations can foster skill development and support local scientists in playing a more prominent role in untangling pressing questions about the cryosphere and hydrology of HMA.

Available for download on Saturday, December 21, 2019

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Hydrology Commons