: Fewer glaciers = more deserts KYRGYZSTAN
BISHKEK, 16 November 2009 (IRIN) – Rapidly melting glaciers in mountainous regions of
By the end of the century, we could see temperatures rising 4-6 degrees centigrade, and by 2050 the number of glaciers could fall from 8,200 to 142, Zukhra Abaikhanova, environment programme adviser with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in
“In the last few decades, we have witnessed the melting of our glaciers. Many have disappeared… The result could be desertification and soil degradation,” she said.
According to Bakyta Mamytova, a specialist in mountain soil biology at the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, such a temperature rise, assuming precipitation remains at its current level, would lead to increasing desertification.
The result would be soil erosion which “could affect living standards, the economy and the environment. We are experiencing this today already,” Mamytova said.
Deputy Director of the State Agency for the Preservation of the Environment and Forestry Aitkul Burkhanov said some of the land currently used in
He said glacier melt would reduce the amount of water available for drinking and irrigation.
Ninety percent of all water in the country is used for irrigation, said UNDP’s Abaikhanova. We need to reconsider “agricultural zoning” to ensure food security; and more efficient use of water at household and state level needs to be implemented, she said.
On “agricultural zoning” (moving crops to other areas or introducing new ones), Abaikhanova said work on that front was just beginning. “There will be a pilot project in the
Marianne Fay, the author of the report, said: “Increases in temperature are affecting hydrology, with a rapid melting of the region’s glaciers and a decrease in winter snows. Many countries are already suffering from winter floods and summer droughts – with both southeastern Europe and
A joint report, entitled Global Glacier Changes: facts and figures, by the UN Environment Programme and the World Glacier Monitoring Service released on 1 September 2008 said mountain ranges in