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An Assessment of the Recent Past and Future Climate Change, Glacier Retreat, and Runoff in the Caucasus Region Using Dynamical and Statistical Downscaling and HBV-ETH Hydrological Model

  • Maria Shahgedanova
  • Wilfried Hagg
  • Martina Zacios
  • Victor Popovnin
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)

The paper discusses the observed and projected warming in the Caucasus region and its implications for glacier melt and runoff. A strong positive trend in summer air temperatures of 0.05°C a−1 is observed in the high-altitude areas providing for a strong glacier melt and continuous decline in glacier mass balance. A warming of 4–7°C and 3–5°C is projected for the summer months in 2071–2100 under the A2 and B2 emission scenarios respectively, suggesting that enhanced glacier melt can be expected. The expected changes in winter precipitation will not compensate for the summer melt and glacier retreat is likely to continue. However, a projected small increase in both winter and summer precipitation combined with the enhanced glacier melt will result in increased summer runoff in the currently glaciated region of the Caucasus (independent of whether the region is glaciated at the end of the twenty-first century) by more than 50% compared with the baseline period.

Keywords

glaciers climate change climate modeling water resources Caucasus 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Shahgedanova
    • 1
  • Wilfried Hagg
    • 2
  • Martina Zacios
    • 2
  • Victor Popovnin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of GeographyThe University of ReadingWhiteknightsUK
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of GeographyMoscow State UniversityMoscowRussia

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