Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (1): 18-26.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201701002

• Climate and Vegetation • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Impact of climate change on water resources in the Tianshan Mountians, Central Asia

Yaning CHEN(), Zhi LI, Gonghuan FANG, Haijun DENG   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography,CAS, Urumqi 830011, China
  • Received:2016-08-24 Revised:2016-11-01 Online:2017-01-20 Published:2017-01-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41630859, No.41471030


Changes in hydrological processes and water resources under climate change in the Tianshan Mountains of Central Asia have been investigated based on data analysis and paper review. Under the context of global warming hiatus, temperature of the Tianshan Mountains in Central Asia has been in a state of high variability, which has accelerated the melting of glacier and snow. Warming has resulted in a series of changes in water resources. Snowfall fraction decreased from 11%-24% in 1960-1998 to 9%-21% in 2000-2014, 97.25% of the glaciers retreated in the last 50 years; and water storage decreased at a rate of -3.72 mm/a during 2003-2014. Warming has led to changes in mountainous hydrological processes and water resources. The runoff in the Tianshan Mountains has increased due to the accelerated glacier/snow melt, however, the runoff will decrease in the long term under continuous warming and current precipitation conditions.

Key words: climate change, glacier and snow, snowfall fraction, water resources, Tianshan Mountains, Central Asia