Study region: Eight river catchments within Central Asia. Study focus: The limited amount of water resources is already an issue in the Central Asian region, and climate change may be crucial for water availability and development of countries in the region. This study investigates potential climate change impacts on water resources in Central Asia to the end of the century by focusing on eight river catchments with diverse natural conditions located in different countries. The eco-hydrological model SWIM was setup, calibrated and validated for all selected catchments under study. Scenarios from five bias-corrected GCMs under Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 and 8.5 were used to drive the hydrological model. New hydrological insights for the region: The results show an increase of mean annual temperature in all catchments for both RCPs to the end of the century. The projected changes in annual precipitation indicate a clear trend to increase in the Zhabay and to decrease in the Murghab catchments, and for other catchments, they were smaller. The projected trends for river discharge are similar to those of precipitation, with an increase in the north and decrease in the south of the study region. Seasonal changes are characterized by a shift in the peak of river discharge up to one month, shortage of snow accumulation period, and reduction of discharge in summer months.
Central Asia climate change hydrological modelling Amu Darya Syr Darya SWIM