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The Climate of the Karakoram and Hindu Kush Mountains of India
Fowler, H.J. and Archer, D.R. 2006. Conflicting signals of climatic change in the Upper Indus Basin. Journal of Climate 19: 4276-4293.

What was done
Temperature data from seven sites scattered throughout the Karakoram and Hindu Kush Mountains of the Upper Indus Basin (a 200-km x 300-km area) of India were analyzed for seasonal and annual trends over the period 1961-2000, after which implications of the results for glacier behavior within the region were analyzed and compared with actual glacier observations.

What was learned
In the words of the authors, "on average, climate stations in the Upper Indus Basin show a reduction in mean summer temperature of 1.2C over the period 1961-2000." In addition, they add that Archer and Fowler (2004) determined that "climate stations in the Karakoram show consistent positive trends in winter precipitation, averaging a 7% increase per decade for the period since 1961."

What it means
Fowler and Archer say that "summer temperature reductions and positive trend in winter precipitation imply reduced ablation and increased accumulation of Karakoram glaciers," and they note that "these climatic changes are consistent with the observed thickening and expansion of glaciers in the Upper Indus Basin region," where "Hewitt (1998) reports the widespread expansion of larger glaciers in the central Karakoram, accompanied by an exceptional number of glacier surges," which results are in striking contrast to what has been reported to have been happening in the neighboring Greater Himalaya.

Archer, D.R. and Fowler, H.J. 2004. Spatial and temporal variations in precipitation in the Upper Indus Basin, global teleconnections and hydrological implications. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 8: 47-61.

Hewitt, K. 1998. Glaciers receive a surge of attention in the Karakoram Himalaya. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 79: 104-105.

Reviewed 7 March 2007