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Abstract

The hydrological budget of the three major Asian rivers, namely the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra, is controlled by the Indian monsoon and Westerlies but their contribution in these basins are highly variable. Widely varying average annual precipitation has been reported within these basins. A poor network of in situ rain gauges, particularly in mountainous regions, inaccessible terrain, high variations in altitude and the significantly large size of basins forces adaption of satellite-based average annual precipitation. We investigate precipitation patterns for these three basins by using satellite-based Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM-3B42) data and compare and validate it with Asian Precipitation Highly Resolved Data Integration Towards Evaluation (APHRODITE) and India Meteorological Department (IMD) interpolated gridded precipitation data. The entire basins as well as basinal areas within the geographic limits of India have been considered. Our study shows that the precipitation broadly follows an east–west and north–south gradient control. The easternmost Brahmaputra Basin has the highest amount of precipitation followed by the Ganga Basin, and the westernmost Indus Basin has the least precipitation; precipitation is highest on the higher elevations than compared to lower elevations of the basins. A seasonal- and elevation-based approach is adapted to estimate snow precipitation and is discussed in terms of overall precipitation.

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