Global Change Observatory Central Asia (GCO-CA) – Palaeoclimate, Environment, and Climate Change


Central Asia, extending between the Caucasus and the eastern Tibetan Plateau, with a semiarid/arid belt with water shortage to the west and a glaciered mountainous area with very unstable surface conditions to the east, holds a key position for understanding geodynamic and climate processes. Given the climatic and topographic features, Central Asia provides a natural laboratory to monitor risk scenarios related to water excess and shortage, and high seismicity. This initiative aims to investigate cause-effect-relations of landscape evolution at different spatial and temporal scales using ground and space based monitoring systems.

Within the frame of the GFZ focus-project GCO-CA scientists from section 5.2 are investigating particularly the dynamics of climate and environment of the region. We must turn to palaeo-records for a wider spectrum of climate variability, environmental changes, and natural hazards because there is no modern analogue situation for the predicted climate change and the magnitude and recurring frequency of disastrous events as earth quakes, landslides, lake outbreaks and floods. The complexity evidences that scientific networking between different disciplines will be mandatory.

Currently investigations are focused on sites in the Kyrgyz Republic, with support from Central Institute of Applied Geosciences (CAIAG) in Bishkek. In future partners from other countries as Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and China will be involved. At the moment we have cooperation with partners from the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University Bishkek, the Kyrgyz National Agrarian University Bishkek, and the Russian Academy of Sciences Bishkek. Different German groups (from Free University Berlin, Technical University Braunschweig, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Senckenberg Research Station for Quaternary Palynology Weimar) are involved via the BMBF-funded project Central Asian Climate Dynamics (CADY).

Sites of the Kyrgyz Republic currently under investigation in section 5.2


The relevant contact person can be found on the (sub)project pages.