Since about 1950, between 14% and 30% of the Tien Shan and Pamir glaciers have melted. This process has accelerated since the early 1970´s with rising temperatures, which can be attributed to the humanly induced climate change. Today’s rate of glacier loss in Central Asia is 0.2–1% per year in volume, which means about 5 km3 of water. Some of the small glaciers (smaller than 0.5 km²) have already totally disappeared. During hot and dry periods glaciers provide up to 70-80% of river run-off in Central Asia.
Photo: Meltwater of the Inylcheck glacier, North slope in the Tian-Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (Alfred Diebold ©)
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