Assessment of climate change impacts, risks and adaptation opportunities for agricultural sector in Central Asia

11:15 Thursday 30 May


Room S8


Anastasia Lobanova (Germany) 1; Iulii Didovets (Germany) 1; Christoph Menz (Germany) 1; Atabek Umirbekov (Kazakhstan) 2; Zhanna Babagalieva (Kazakhstan) 2; Fred Hattermann (Germany) 1; Valentina Krysanova (Germany) 1

1 - Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; 2 - Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia

The observed warming trends in Central Asia have shown to exceed the global ones, allowing the assumption that the projected climate change impacts may affect this region more severely. The successful planning of adaptation measures in Central Asia is of a vital interest given the region’s current economic vulnerability, dependence on the agricultural production and water resources scarcity, as these issues will be exacerbated with climate change impacts. In order to support the local policymakers elaboration of management and adaptation strategies current study was pursuing the following goals:

  1. to evaluate and compare hydrological impacts of climate change in eight pilot river basins located in different regions within the Aral Sea basin;
  2. focusing on two case study basins qualitatively assess how impacts of climate change on the hydrological patterns and temperature regimes will affect the agricultural production.

The selected climate change projections embrace the intermediate and high-end scenarios corresponding to two Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs): RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. In order to assess the impacts of climate change on the hydrological patterns, the eco-hydrological process-based model Soil and Water Integrated Model SWIM was set up and calibrated for all eight river basins. The results show that there is general trend showing an increase of river flows in spring and a decrease during summer, which is associated with alteration of the snowmelt processes that will occur earlier under changing climate conditions, due to higher temperatures. No strong changes in the precipitation patterns were found for two case study basins regions, however, the temperature increase, as projected by two climate datasets, is expected to be dramatic in the area, reaching up to +8 0C under the high-end scenarios by the end of the century.

Analysing current cropping patterns and projected changes in the two pilot territories our study shows that there are serious risks for water management and agriculture in the region increasing with time, especially under the high-end scenario, but there are also some opportunities for adaptation in agricultural sector arising.