Articles | Volume 32
13 Dec 2012
 | 13 Dec 2012

Climate change impacts on Central Asian water resources

M. Malsy, T. Aus der Beek, S. Eisner, and M. Flörke

Abstract. Central Asia is in large parts dominated by low precipitation and, consequentially, by low water availability. Therefore, changes of natural water resources induced by climate change are of high interest. The aim of this study is to analyse the potential impact of climate change on Central Asian water resources until the end of the 21st century and to point out the main affected regions. Thus, simulations with the large-scale hydrology model WaterGAP3 for the baseline and scenario periods were performed with outputs from three General Circulation Models (GCMs: ECHAM5, IPSL-CM4, and CNRM-CM3) and two IPCC-SRES emission scenarios (A2 and B1). The results show that mean modelled annual water availability increases for all scenarios and GCMs while CNRM-CM3 induces the wettest water situation for the 2085s and ECHAM5 the lowest water availability. Furthermore, robust trends to wetter or dryer conditions could be found for many basins. A seasonal shift of mean modelled water availability could be derived for ECHAM5 which does not show a second peak during summer. The application of daily input data showed no improvement of modelled monthly river discharges for most Central Asian basins compared to monthly input data.