Chapter

Threats to Global Water Security

Part of the series NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security pp 131-143

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

  • M. ShahgedanovaAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, The University of Reading
  • , W. HaggAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Munich, Munich
  • , D. HassellAffiliated withThe Hadley Centre, UK Met Office
  • , C. R. StokesAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, The University of Durham
  • , V. PopovninAffiliated withFaculty of Geography, Moscow State University

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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.

Keywords

Glaciers climate change climate modeling water resources Caucasus