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Article

Emptying Water Towers? Impacts of Future Climate and Glacier Change on River Discharge in the Northern Tien Shan, Central Asia

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Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, Reading RG66AB, UK
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School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Cardiff, Cardiff CF10 3AT, UK
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Department of Geography, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, 80333 Munich, Germany
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Department of Geoinformatics, Munich University of Applied Sciences, D-80333 Munich, Germany
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Institute of Geography, Almaty 050010, Kazakhstan
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Institute of Water Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119333, Russia
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Sochi Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sochi 354000, Russia
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Earth System Science and Department of Geography, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Faculty of Geography and Environmental Management, al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Almaty 050038, Kazakhstan
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Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rostov-on-Don 344006, Russia
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Research and Innovation Systems, Nazarbayev University, Nursultan 010000, Kazakhstan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(3), 627; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030627
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 17 February 2020 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published: 26 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Water Resources in Glacierized Regions)
Impacts of projected climate and glacier change on river discharge in five glacierized catchments in the northern Tien Shan, Kazakhstan are investigated using a conceptual hydrological model HBV-ETH. Regional climate model PRECIS driven by four different GCM-scenario combinations (HadGEM2.6, HadGEM8.5, A1B using HadCM3Q0 and ECHAM5) is used to develop climate projections. Future changes in glaciation are assessed using the Blatter–Pattyn type higher-order 3D coupled ice flow and mass balance model. All climate scenarios show statistically significant warming in the 21st Century. Neither projects statistically significant change in annual precipitation although HadGEM and HadCM3Q0-driven scenarios show 20–37% reduction in July–August precipitation in 2076–2095 in comparison with 1980–2005. Glaciers are projected to retreat rapidly until the 2050s and stabilize afterwards except under the HadGEM8.5 scenario where retreat continues. Glaciers are projected to lose 38–50% of their volume and 34–39% of their area. Total river discharge in July–August, is projected to decline in catchments with low (2–4%) glacierization by 20–37%. In catchments with high glacierization (16% and over), no significant changes in summer discharge are expected while spring discharge is projected to increase. In catchments with medium glacierization (10–12%), summer discharge is expected to decline under the less aggressive scenarios while flow is sustained under the most aggressive HadGEM8.5 scenario, which generates stronger melt. View Full-Text
Keywords: discharge; glaciers; climate change; hydrological modelling; Tien Shan; Central Asia discharge; glaciers; climate change; hydrological modelling; Tien Shan; Central Asia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shahgedanova, M.; Afzal, M.; Hagg, W.; Kapitsa, V.; Kasatkin, N.; Mayr, E.; Rybak, O.; Saidaliyeva, Z.; Severskiy, I.; Usmanova, Z.; Wade, A.; Yaitskaya, N.; Zhumabayev, D. Emptying Water Towers? Impacts of Future Climate and Glacier Change on River Discharge in the Northern Tien Shan, Central Asia. Water 2020, 12, 627. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030627

AMA Style

Shahgedanova M, Afzal M, Hagg W, Kapitsa V, Kasatkin N, Mayr E, Rybak O, Saidaliyeva Z, Severskiy I, Usmanova Z, Wade A, Yaitskaya N, Zhumabayev D. Emptying Water Towers? Impacts of Future Climate and Glacier Change on River Discharge in the Northern Tien Shan, Central Asia. Water. 2020; 12(3):627. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030627

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shahgedanova, Maria, Muhammad Afzal, Wilfried Hagg, Vassiliy Kapitsa, Nikolay Kasatkin, Elizabeth Mayr, Oleg Rybak, Zarina Saidaliyeva, Igor Severskiy, Zamira Usmanova, Andrew Wade, Natalia Yaitskaya, and Dauren Zhumabayev. 2020. "Emptying Water Towers? Impacts of Future Climate and Glacier Change on River Discharge in the Northern Tien Shan, Central Asia" Water 12, no. 3: 627. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030627

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