EGU24-19588, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Seasonal snow cover variations in Central Asia based on remote sensing data

Akmal Gafurov1, Adkham Mamaraimov2, Busch Friedrich3, and Abror Gafurov1
Akmal Gafurov et al.
  • 1German Research Centre for Geosciences, Hydrology, Germany (
  • 2University of Potsdam, Insititute of Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Innovative Water and Environmental Solutions, Berlin, Germany

Snow is an important hydrological component in Central Asia. The snowmelt contributes to about 50 % of total water formation in the region, depending on geographic conditions. Many hydro-meteorological phenomena such as floods or drought conditions can be triggered by snowmelt amounts in Central Asia. The amount of snow accumulation in the mountains of Tian-Shan and Pamir also defines the availability of water for summer months to be used for agricultural production or re-filling of reservoirs for energy production in the winter period. Thus, it is of high importance to better understand the seasonal variation of snow and if the over the global average climate warming in the region is affecting the processes related to snow accumulation and melt.

In this study, we analyze 22 years of daily Moderate Resolution Imaging Radiometer (MODIS) snow cover data that was processed using the MODSNOW-Tool, including cloud elimination. Additionally, observed snow depth data from meteorological stations were used to estimate trends related to snow cover change. We used several parameters such as snow cover duration, snow depth, snow cover extent, and snowline elevation to analyze changes.  We conducted this analysis in 18 river basins across the Central Asian domain with each river basin having different geographic conditions and the results show varying tendencies. In many river basins, a clear decrease of snow cover was found to be significant, whereas in some river basins also increase in the snow cover extent in particular months could be identified. We attributed the changes related to snow cover to available historical temperature and precipitation records from meteorological stations to better understand the driving forces. The results of this study indicate seasonal snow cover variations but also potential water shortages in particular months as well as water abundance in months where water demand is not high in Central Asia.

How to cite: Gafurov, A., Mamaraimov, A., Friedrich, B., and Gafurov, A.: Seasonal snow cover variations in Central Asia based on remote sensing data, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-19588,, 2024.