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Advances in Science and Research The open-access proceedings of the European Meteorological Society (EMS)

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Adv. Sci. Res., 7, 21-36, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
26 Apr 2011
Assessing components of the natural environment of the Upper Danube and Upper Brahmaputra river basins
S. Lang1, A. Kääb2, J. Pechstädt3, W.-A. Flügel3, P. Zeil1, E. Lanz4, D. Kahuda5, R. Frauenfelder2, K. Casey2, P. Füreder1, I. Sossna3, I. Wagner4, G. Janauer4, N. Exler4, Z. Boukalova5, R. Tapa6, J. Lui7, and N. Sharma8 1Centre for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
2Department of Geosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
3Department of Geoinformatics, University of Jena, Jena, Germany
4Department of Limnology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
5VODNI ZDROJE, a.s., Prague, Czech Republic
6ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal
7Institute for Tibetan Plateau Research, Lhasa, China
8Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, India
Abstract. A comprehensive understanding of the interplay between the natural environment and the human dimension is one of the prerequisites to successful and sustaining IWRM practises in large river basins such as the Upper Brahmaputra river basin or the Upper Danube river basin. These interactions, their dynamics and changes, and the likely future scenarios were investigated in the BRAHMATWINN project with a series of tools from remote sensing and geoinformatics. An integrated assessment of main components of the natural environment in the two river basins as well as in five reference catchments within those basins, has led to the delineation of hydrological response units (HRUs). HRUs are spatial units bearing a uniform behaviour in terms of the hydrological response regime, as a function of physical parameters land use, soil type, water, vegetation cover and climate. Besides the delineated HRUs which are available in a spatially exhaustive manner for all reference catchments, the following information were provided as spatial layers: (1) uniform digital surface models of both the twinned basins and the reference catchments; (2) glacier areas and the magnitude of glacier loss; (3) mountain permafrost distribution and identification of areas particularly affected by permafrost thaw; (4) a consistent land use/land cover information in all reference catchments; and (5) the vulnerabilities of wetlands and groundwater in terms of anthropogenic impact and climate change.

Citation: Lang, S., Kääb, A., Pechstädt, J., Flügel, W.-A., Zeil, P., Lanz, E., Kahuda, D., Frauenfelder, R., Casey, K., Füreder, P., Sossna, I., Wagner, I., Janauer, G., Exler, N., Boukalova, Z., Tapa, R., Lui, J., and Sharma, N.: Assessing components of the natural environment of the Upper Danube and Upper Brahmaputra river basins, Adv. Sci. Res., 7, 21-36, doi:10.5194/asr-7-21-2011, 2011.
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