The climate change poses a serious threat to the entire natural-economic system of Central Asia, including water and land resources of the region.
The global warming implies disappointing forecasts in this respect. Glaciers presently contribute up to 70% of the water flow in the major river systems of the region during hot, dry summers (TSNC - Tajikistan Second National Communication, 2009).
|Glacier scientific station, Merzbacher valley, Kyrgyzstan
Since 1957 to 2000, water reserves in glaciers decreased by more than 25. It is predicted that by 2025 thousands of small glaciers will disappear, the area of glaciers will shrink by 20%, and ice reserves will decrease by 25%. As a result, mountainous areas may lose major part of glaciers, which would have a significant impact on surface runoff: by 2050 the runoff of Amudarya river will decline by 10-15%, and of Syrdarya river – by 6-10%.
The reduction of water flow from such a change in glacial area is at present poorly understood, but is likely to be dramatic, particularly in hot, dry summers. Large reductions in water flow will have severe consequences for the ecological functioning of rivers as well as the water, energy and food security of all Central Asian countries. Water shortages in Central Asia have already triggered conflicts between communities. The effect of glacial melting will exacerbate such conflicts unless timely adaptation measures are implemented.
In most areas of Central Asia, winter temperatures have increased. In many parts of Central Asia, variability and intensity of precipitation have increased as well: rain showers are followed by periods of droughts, which affects the increasing soil erosion. Risks of flooding, including transboundary rivers, have grown significantly.
More information from the Reports:
Climate Change in Central Asia. A visual synthesis based on official country information from the communications to the UNFCCC, scientific papers and news reports. ZOI environment publication produced in close cooperation with the Governments of Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
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