Non-profit organization Zoï Environment Network published in October 2019 (NexusBrief, Nr 8, October 2019.) Summary of "Climate change and the environment: climate-cryosphere-water relationships in Central Asia."
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Global warming leads to increased melting of snow and glaciers and thawing permafrost. Consequently, it affects the overall water balance of the planet. Mountain cryosphere is changing and will continue to change depending on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. This dramatically affect the resource base of communities dependent on the presence of glaciers, snow and permafrost .
Cryosphere undergo drastic changes in the future, if anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow unchecked. Even if the international community to reach the goal of containment of increase of temperature in 1,5-2 ° C (Paris Agreement), changes in the cryosphere will be enormous. In a predominantly dry climate of Central Asia the role of the cryosphere is particularly important for the replenishment of water resources in the region.
What is the cryosphere?
Cryosphere - one of the geographic shell of the Earth , which is characterized by the presence or potential existence of ice. It is located within the thermal interaction of the atmosphere , the hydrosphere and lithosphere . Cryosphere extends from the upper layers of the earth's crust to the lower layers of the ionosphere.
Characterized by numerous cryosphere cryogenic Education:
- system ice clouds,
- snow cover,
- ice cover of reservoirs ,
- ice ,
- glaciers mountains
- ice caps,
- morzlye soil (seasonal)
- rocks with underground ice.
Cryosphere characterized negative or zero temperature at which thewater contained in the vapor-free and is physically or chemically bound to other components as may exist in the solid phase ( ice , snow , frost , etc.). Learn more about the cryosphere here.
Central Asia - one of the most vulnerable parts of the world
The negative impact of climate change are already evident in Central Asia. It is expected that the region will become one of the most vulnerable parts of the world. The temperature in the last 50 years has grown steadily and is projected to grow by another 2,5-6,5 ° C by the end of the 21st century. Of course it depends on the level of future greenhouse gas emissions. Economic development and population growth also increase the risk in Central Asia.
Consequently, the risks associated with lack of water, must be assessed in the context of climate change. And it's time to begin work on the development of appropriate adaptation solutions for each country and the region as a whole. Cross-border cooperation and integrated approaches to water resources management - these are the key moments in the development of sustainable solutions for adaptation .
An integrated water management is the main tool for maintaining inter-state dialogue and the starting point for establishing communication climatic cryospheric. Cooperation in transboundary water management can be a driving force for sustainable economic development and, ultimately, for peace and stability in the region.
Examples of projects and programs given in this review show related to the development and cooperation in the region and are evidence of the readiness of countries to step up adaptation solutions, which are integrative, robust and allow for unpredictable changes in the future.
Water in Central Asia
The main sources of water in Central Asia - is the river Syr Darya and Amu Darya . They mainly feed on melting snow and glaciers from the mountains of Pamir, Hindu Kush and Tian Shan. Mountain water runoff to the rivers clear seasonal: with minimal runoff in winter (snow accumulation season) and maximum in summer (melt season). Snow and glaciers contribute substantially to the drain of the spring and summer, providing water agriculture and offsetting reduction in precipitation in dry years. Snow cover keeps water seasonally, while glaciers store water for decades or even centuries, compensating fluctuation of precipitation during periods of drought.
Nikolay Denisov, deputy director of the international non-profit organization Environmental Network "Zoe"
"Glaciers - as a reservoir, they redistribute water during the year (accumulated in the winter, given the summer). If the glaciers disappear, the rivers, which are partly fed by glacial water runoff decreases in the summer, especially when the water is needed for irrigation. Before that, until a few years will be actively glaciers melt, runoff, on the contrary, due to the melting will increase. But this, unfortunately, is temporary. "
(Nikolai Denisov, deputy director of the international non-profit organization "Zoe" Ecological Network).
Syrdarya and Amudarya are at the heart of social and economic development of Central Asia. They provide water for household and utilities, industry, agriculture and hydropower. Each sector is inextricably linked to the formation of water: about 22% of the electricity produced in the region on hydropower.
South Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are the most irrigated areas in the world (75% of irrigated agriculture). Agriculture covers about 20 percent of GDP and covers the region up to 50 percent of the workforce within countries (InternationalCrisisGroup 2014).
That is why in this report detail the relationship between changes in the cryosphere due to climate change and water resources status and potential danger to Central Asia.