Fikiri Mhenga

‌‌Fikiri Daniel Mhenga -

PhD Title:

Using Remotely Sensed Products for Improved Hydrological Models in High Mountain Hydrological Regimes


PhD Project Details:

Mountainous catchments are an important source of fresh water to the nearest lowland areas (Viviroli et al., 2007, Archer and Fowler, 2004, Immerzeel et al., 2011, Archer, 2003, Bookhagen and Burbank, 2010).  It is estimated that about one-sixth of the world’s population relies on water supplied by these mountainous catchments (Viviroli et al., 2007, Barnett et al., 2005, Immerzeel et al., 2011).  For example, major Asian Rivers such as the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, Yellow and Yangtze which sustain the lives of hundreds of millions of people originate from the Himalayas and Tibetan-Qinghai plateau (Immerzeel et al., 2011, Forsythe et al., 2011).


However, the hydrological regimes of mountain regions are complex and characterized by extreme seasonal and annual variations.  It is thus very important that we have appropriate and efficient tools/approach to support our understanding of the current and future state of our water resources.  But the main challenge is deficiency of ground truth data, the situation is more severe in mountain regions where monitoring stations tend to decrease with an increase of elevation.  Remote sensing has a potential of providing at least partial solution for this problem.  Therefore, the main focus of this study is to find the better way of utilizing remote sensing products in studying the spatial and temporal variability in hydro-climate of the catchment.


(Image – Flow chart showing utilization of RS products)



Archer, D. 2003. ‘Contrasting Hydrological Regimes in the Upper Indus Basin’, Journal of Hydrology, 274, 198-210.


Archer, D. R. & Fowler, H. J. 2004. ‘Spatial and Temporal Variations in Precipitation in Upper Indus Basin, Global Teleconnections and Hydrological Implications’, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 8, 47-61.


Barnett, T. P., Adam, J. C. & Lettenmaier, D. P. 2005. ‘Potential Impacts of a Warming Climate on Water Availability in Snow-Dominated Regions’, Nature, 438, 303-9.


Bookhagen, B. & Burbank, D. W. 2010. ‘Toward a Complete Himalayan Hydrological Budget: Spatiotemporal Distribution of Snowmelt and Rainfall and their Impact on River Discharge’, Journal of Geophysical Research, 115.


Forsythe, N., Fowler, H. J., Kilsby, C. G. & Archer, D. R. 2011. ‘Opportunities from Remote Sensing for Supporting Water Resources Management in Village/Valley Scale Catchments in the Upper Indus Basin’, Water Resources Management, 26, 845-871.


Immerzeel, W. W., Beek, L. P. H., Konz, M., Shrestha, A. B. & Bierkens, M. F. P. 2011. ‘Hydrological Response to Climate Change in a Glacierized Catchment in the Himalayas’, Climatic Change, 110, 721-736.



Professor Hayley Fowler

Dr Rachel Gaulton



Commonwealth Scholarship Commission