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.

Sites of the Kyrgyz Republic currently under investigation in section 5.2

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 (in particular from caves and lakes) 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.

Investigations of lake sediments and limno-monitoring is focused currently on two shallow, large lakes of intramontane basins (Lake Son Kol at 3061 m NN, and Lake Chatyr Kol, at 3520 m NN), and one deep lake build behind a natural dam from an avalanche (Sary Chelek, at 1873 m NN).

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Speleothems from caves form excellent archives of paleoclimatology and -hydrology. They can be accurately dated with U-Th technique back to 500.000 yrs.

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Since summer 2010 the GFZ is running a dust monitoring station at an altitude of 1740 m on the northern slopes of the Tien Shan.

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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 Mountain Societies Research Institute of the University of Central Asia, and the Russian Academy of Sciences Bishkek. Different German groups (from Free University Berlin, Technical University Braunschweig, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena) are involved via the BMBF-funded project Central Asian Holocene Climate (CAHOL).

Links:
Main website GCO-CA

Contact

Scientist
Dr.Jens Mingram
Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution
Telegrafenberg
Building C, Room 323
14473Potsdam
+49 331 288-1334
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Birgit Plessen
Group Leader
Dr.Birgit Plessen
Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution
Telegrafenberg
Building C, Room 327
14473Potsdam
+49 331 288-1482
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Georg Schettler
Scientist
Dr.Georg Schettler
Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution
Telegrafenberg
Building C, Room 328
14473Potsdam
+49 331 288-1335
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Sylvia Pinkerneil
Technician
Dipl.-Geogr.Sylvia Pinkerneil
Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution
Telegrafenberg
Building C, Room 456
14473Potsdam
+49 331 288-1373
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