07.12.2006 -

Will Climate Change Make Central Asia Glaciers Disappear?

Sixty experts meeting in Almaty (Kazakhstan) on 28–30 November to discuss glacier retreat and its impact on water resources in Asia have called for the creation of a centre on glacier research for Central Asia. Studies presented to the workshop show that glaciers in the region are melting rapidly: between 1955 and 2000, they lost 0.6–0.8% of their volume per year.

Ледник Туюксу на северном Тянь-Шане в июле 1997 года. С 1955 года ледник отступил на 362 м.

© S.Marchenko/Alaska Fairbanks University.

 Here, a photo of Tuyuksu Glacier in Northern Tien Shan in July 1997. The glacier has retreated 362 m since 1955.

Mountain ranges in Asia include the Altai, Tian Shan, Pamir, Karakoram and the Himalayan and Tibetan Plateaus; these ranges stock the world’s largest volumes of ice outside the polar regions. The experts call for a review of the ongoing and completed research in Central Asia on the hydrological impact of glaciers, snow and permafrost. They recommend developing a regional network of benchmark basins to investigate the impact of glaciers and snow cover on the hydrological cycle and on the associated socio-economic system.

The workshop was organized by the UNESCO Almaty Office, UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) and International Hydrological Programmes (IHP), together with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), European Commission and the Institute of Geography of the Kazakh Academy of Sciences.

Contact the UNESCO focal point in Almaty, Anil Mishra

Consult the website of UNESCO’s Almaty office


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