EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Glacier monitoring, capacity building and related cryospheric research in Central Asia

Martin Hoelzle1, Martina Barandun1, Tomas Saks1, Erlan Azisov2, Abror Gafurov3, Alyssa Ghirlanda1, Abdulhamid Kayumov4, Ruslan Kenzhebaev2, Marlene Kronenberg1, Horst Machguth1, Halim Mamirov5, Bolot Moldobekov2, Maxim Petrov5, Nadine Salzmann1, Ryskul Usubaliev2, Andrey Yakovlev6, and Michael Zemp7
Martin Hoelzle et al.
  • 1University of Fribourg, Alpine Cryosphere and Geomorphology, Department of Geosciences, Fribourg, Switzerland (
  • 2Central Asian Institute of Applied Geosciences, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • 3GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 4Center for Research of Glaciers of the Academy of Sciences Tajikistan, Dushanbe, Tajikistan
  • 5Glacial Geology Laboratory, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • 6Uzbek scientific investigation and design survey institute, UzGIP, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
  • 7Departement of Geography, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland

Climate change is a major challenge for humanity and the related global implications will influence and threaten future economies and livelihood of coming generations, especially in developing countries. Central Asia is one of the regions mostly vulnerable to climate change considering its hydrological constraints. Tien Shan and Pamir, are among the largest mountain systems of the world, and play a significant role in serving water to the arid and continental region. Future water resources in Central Asia depend strongly on the cryosphere, particularly on snow, glaciers and permafrost. These cryospheric components store enormous amounts of fresh water and under the ongoing climate warming, expected changes will play an important role for future water availability in the region. Recent research clearly points out that a) for current climate conditions, water release by the cryosphere, particularly glaciers, is fundamental to keep runoff sufficient during the dry summer months and b) at the end of this century the water contribution of glaciers will be drastically reduced. Certain catchments are expected to completely dry-out. This setting creates a complex set of future challenges in the domains of water management, energy production, irrigation, agriculture, environment, disaster risk reduction, security and public health and potential political tension and conflicts between the countries cannot be excluded.

Notably, climate change also poses challenges in the field of climate services, as the lack of reliable data and commitment of the governments to fully integrate their observatory systems inhibits the sustainable adaptation and development of the region. At this point, the project CICADA (Cryospheric Climate Services for improved Adaptations) is currently contributing to the improvement of the Cryospheric Climate Services in the Central Asian countries by installing modern monitoring infrastructure, by training local students and researchers and by using the collected in situ measurements in combination with remote sensing and modelling to provide climate scenarios and services for water runoff and natural hazards. This is a prerequisite to allow early planning and adaptation measures within the water resource management and disaster risk reduction sectors.

How to cite: Hoelzle, M., Barandun, M., Saks, T., Azisov, E., Gafurov, A., Ghirlanda, A., Kayumov, A., Kenzhebaev, R., Kronenberg, M., Machguth, H., Mamirov, H., Moldobekov, B., Petrov, M., Salzmann, N., Usubaliev, R., Yakovlev, A., and Zemp, M.: Glacier monitoring, capacity building and related cryospheric research in Central Asia, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5135,, 2020.


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