By Thomas Hofer;Bruno Messerli
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Additional info for Floods in Bangladesh: history, dynamics and rethinking the role of the Himalayas
In the highlands, such rains may develop considerable erosive forces and in the lowlands they can lead to substantial accumulation of water masses. 5. 5): The rivers ﬂow at high water levels in the summer months and at low water levels in the winter months. Most of the graphs document an extraordinary difference between the dry season and the rainy season ﬂow. The average ﬂood ﬂow of the Brahmaputra reaches 10 times its dry season ﬂow, and that of the Ganga as much as 20 times its dry season ﬂow (see also the images on the back cover).
The inactive phase is characterized by clear and warm weather, which can last for several weeks. The changes are probably induced by the position of the monsoon trough. During an active phase, the monsoon trough is positioned south of the Himalayas, so that there is rainfall in the north and in the central parts of India. During the inactive phase, the monsoon trough weakens. It is positioned further north and consequently there is rainfall along the forelands of the Himalayas and in Assam. Hastenrath (1985: 180) writes about the inactive phase: ‘‘in the course of the south-west monsoon, there are periods when the monsoon trough shifts northward to the foot of the Himalayas, and rains decrease over much of India except along the slope of the Himalayas and parts of Northeast India, and the Southern Peninsula.
Statements on forest removal and its effects should not be generalized: in certain areas of the Himalayas, forest cover has increased over the past few decades. Forest removal does not necessarily lead to degradation of soil and water resources. If forests are replaced by well-maintained agricultural terraces or other adapted and sustainably managed land-use systems, erosion and runoff are not greater than in a forested area. These important and challenging results were very often based on shortterm series of measurements, a few experimental plots, or case studies.