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Trend Analysis of Flood Peaks in Lower Reaches of Satluj River, Himachal Pradesh, India

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Climate change arising from anthropogenic driven emissions of greenhouse gases has emerged as one of the most important environmental issues in the last two decades. One of the most significant potential consequences of climate change may be alteration in regional hydrological cycle and river flow regimes. Increased temperature is expected to increase the peak flows in snow-fed rivers of Himalayas. The changing pattern of regional temperature on flood peaks deserves urgent and systematic attention over a basin which provides an insight view of historical trends. Lower reaches of Satluj River is selected for the present study. Testing the significance of observed trends in flood peaks has received a great attention recently, especially in connection with climate change. The data series available was 48 years (1967-2010). The records were subjected to trend analysis by using both non-parametric (Mann-Kendall test) and parametric (linear regression analysis) procedures. For better understanding of the observed trends, flood peaks were computed into standardised flood peak indices (SFPI). These standardised data series were plotted against time and the linear trends observed were represented graphically. The analysis of flood peaks at different observation stations in lower reaches of Satluj River showed a large variability in the trends and magnitudes. The trend analysis results of flood peaks and gauge heights indicate that the flood peaks at all sites i.e. Rampur, Suni and Kasol show increasing but statistically insignificant trends. The trends in gauge height at all sites are also showing increasing trend but Kasol is statistically significant at 95% confidence level. The fast melting of glaciers, incessant monsoon rainfall and the synchronisation of the discharge peaks are the main causes of river floods. The past flood peaks will help us to observe the frequency of occurrence of floods in certain region and to determine whether the flood peaks in the past have been same with that of the present or whether there is any deviation in the trend in relation to climate change. Such studies will help in designing mitigation and adaptation strategies towards extreme hydrological events.


International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 46)
S. Kumar and Santosh, "Trend Analysis of Flood Peaks in Lower Reaches of Satluj River, Himachal Pradesh, India", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 46, pp. 60-75, 2015
Online since:
September 2015

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