Potential climate and hydrological changes in the Aral Sea region

James R. Miller, Imtiaz Rangwala, Debjani Ghatak

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter describes the climatic setting of the Aral Sea region, investigates how the climate might change during the 21st century, and discusses potential impacts on water resources. Temperature and precipitation fields are analyzed to describe the mean climate for the Aral Sea region. Composite analysis has been employed on the precipitation field from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP v2.2) to assess the spatial pattern of changes in precipitation during the last several decades. Furthermore, temperature and precipitation projections available from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report are synthesized to examine the nature of climate change during this century. Cold season precipitation has increased during recent decades, particularly over the mountainous terrain east of the Aral Sea. Climate models also project increases (5-20%) in winter precipitation during the 21st century; however, several models suggest decreases (0 to -15%) in precipitation during summer. Despite the increases in cold season precipitation, the large increases in temperature (4°C) during the 21st century are likely to cause increased evaporation which could exacerbate the regional water budget deficit. This may constrain the water supply in the region, particularly during summer and autumn when water demand is highest. To fully understand the impacts of future climate change on regional water resources, hydrologic models that include anthropogenic management of water will be required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDisaster by Design
Subtitle of host publicationThe Aral Sea and Its Lessons for Sustainability
EditorsMichael Edelstein, Astrid Cerny, Abror Gadaev
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameResearch in Social Problems and Public Policy
ISSN (Print)0196-1152

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Sociology and Political Science


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