A Hydrometeorological Perspective on the Karakoram Anomaly Using Unique Valley-Based Synoptic Weather Observations

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Glaciers in the eastern Hindukush, western Karakoram, and northwestern Himalayan mountain ranges of Northern Pakistan are not responding to global warming in the same manner as their counterparts elsewhere. Their retreat rates are less than the global average, and some are either stable or growing. Various investigations have questioned the role of climatic factors in regard to this anomalous behavior, widely referred to as “The Karakoram Anomaly.” Here, for the first time, we present a hydrometeorological perspective based on five decades of synoptic weather observations collected by the meteorological network of Pakistan. Analysis of this unique data set indicates that increased regional scale humidity, cloud cover, and precipitation, along with decreased net radiation, near-surface wind speed, potential evapotranspiration, and river flow, especially during the summer season, represent a substantial change in the energy, mass, and momentum fluxes that are facilitating the establishment of the Karakoram anomaly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10,470-10,478
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 2017



  • climate variability
  • glacier
  • Indus River
  • Karakoram anomaly
  • monsoon
  • Pakistan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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