Climate Change, Glacier Retreat, and Water Availability in the Caucasus Region
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.
KeywordsGlaciers climate change climate modeling water resources Caucasus
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Armstrong, R., Raup, B., Khalsa, S.J.S., Barry, R., Kargel, J., Helm, C., and Kieffer, H., 2005: GLIMS glacier database. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center.Google Scholar
- Bergström, S., 1976: Development and Application of a Conceptual Runoff Model for Scandinavian Catchments. Department of Water Resources Engineering, University of Lund, Bulletin A/52, 134 S.Google Scholar
- Braithwaite, R.J., Zhang Y. and Raper S.C.B., 2003: Temperature sensitivity of the mass balance of mountain glaciers and ice caps as a climatological characteristic. Zeit. Gletscherkun. Glazialgeol., 38: 35–61.Google Scholar
- Chernomorets, S., Petrakov, D., Tutubalina, O., Seinova, I. and Krylenko, I., 2007: Outburst of a glacial lake on the north-eastern slope of the Elbrus on 11 August 2006. Data Glaciologic. Res., 102: 219–224. In Russian.Google Scholar
- Hagg, W., Braun, L.N., 2005: The influence of glacier retreat on water yield from high mountain areas: Comparison of Alps and Central Asia. In: De Jong, C., Ranzi, R., Collins, D. (eds.) Climate and Hydrology in Mountain Areas, ISBN: 978-0-470-85814-1. Wiley: Chichester, 263–275.Google Scholar
- Hagg, W., Braun, L.N., Weber, M., and Becht, M., 2006: Runoff modelling in glacierized Central Asian catchments for present-day and future climate. Nord. Hydrol., 37/2: 93–105.Google Scholar
- Jones, R.G., Noguer, M., Hassell, D.C., Hudson, D., Wilson, S.S., Jenkins, G.J. and Mitchell, J.F.B., 2004: Generating high resolution climate change scenarios using PRECIS, Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter, UK, 40pp.Google Scholar
- Kääb, A., Huggel, C., Fischer, L., Guex, S., Paul, F., Roer, I., Salzmann, N., Schlaefli, S., Schmutz, K., Schneider, D., Strozzi, T., and Weidmann, Y., 2005: Remote sensing of glacier- and permafrost-related hazards in high mountains: An overview. Nat. Haz. Earth Syst. Sci., 5: 527–554.Google Scholar
- Konz, M., Braun, L., Grabs, W., Shrestha, A. and Uhlenbrook, S., 2006: Runoff from Nepalese Headwater Catchments - Measurements and Modelling. IHP/HWRP-Berichte, Heft 4, Koblenz, ISSN 1614-1180, 160pp.Google Scholar
- Rango, A., 1992: Worldwide testing of the snowmelt runoff model with applications for predicting the effects of climate change. Nord. Hydrol., 23: 155–172.Google Scholar
- SRES, 2001: IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios. IPCC. Geneva.Google Scholar
- Volodicheva, N.A., 2002: The Caucasus. In: Shahgedanova, M. (Ed.), The Physical Geography of Northern Eurasia. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 284–313.Google Scholar