Climate Change, Glacier Retreat, and Water Availability in the Caucasus Region

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The paper discusses the observed and projected warming in the Caucasus region and its implications for glacier melt, water availability and potential hazards. A strong positive trend in summer air temperatures of 0.05°C year−1 is observed in the high-altitude areas (above 2000 m) providing for a strong glacier melt. A widespread glacier retreat has also been reported between 1985 and 2000, with an average rate of 8 m year−1. A warming of 5–7°C is projected for the summer months in the 2071–2100 period under the A2 emission group of scenarios, suggesting that enhanced glacier melt and a changing water balance can be expected.