is considered comfortable for human habitation. Government researchers have found that, over the past 100 years, average temperatures in Kyrgyzstan rose by 2.8 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) (much higher than the global average of 1 degree F, or 0.6 degrees C). Precipitation rose only 6 percent during the same period. Scientists project temperature rises of between 3-8 degrees F (1.8-4.4 degrees C) by 2100, and projected precipitation increases of 6-54 percent, depending on the modeling program used.
In 2002, researchers announced that Issyk-Kul, the world's ninth-largest lake and second-largest saline lake, was showing a marked rise in water levels and temperature. This was shocking to many experts, who had seen the lake shrinking 1926-98, and expected that trend to continue. However, in 1998-2002, the lake level rose 10 in. (26 cm.).
This was deemed an extraordinary rise for a body of water that covers 2,317 sq. mi. (6,000 sq. km.). Temperature readings from across the lake showed increases of 6.6-7.5 degrees F (3.7-4.2 degrees C). Further study has shown that most of the rising water level is attributable to increased mountain precipitation and increased snowfall in the high mountains. The country's glacier fields are shrinking, but glacial melt is not believed to have played a significant role in Issyk-Kul's rise.
The government expects that, in the north and northeastern parts of the country, the desert belt will move up about 1,312 ft. (400 m.), the steppe belt about 820 ft. (250 m.), forest meadows 492 ft. (150 m.), and the subalpine belt 328 ft. (100 m.); other parts of the country will see less dramatic shifts of about 656 ft. (200 m.) for deserts and steppes, and 492 ft. (150 m.) for forest-meadows.
Kyrgyzstan's government is not concerned about energy use in the country, and is only moderately concerned about water availability. It believes most native flora and fauna will adapt to shifting climate zones, and forests will benefit from a greater range. It is slightly more concerned about the impact on human health, particularly an increase in vector-borne disease like malaria and dengue fever, which might flourish under warmer average temperatures. It believes this can be countered by improved standards of living and health care investments.
As a developing nation, Kyrgyzstan is not obligated to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, but has stated a commitment to implement plans to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging sustainable agricultural practices, building energy-efficient housing, implementing environmental controls in industry, and investing in renewable energy sources.
SEE ALSO: Developing Countries; Diseases; Glaciers, Retreating.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Claudia Antipina, Temirbek Musakeev, and Rolando Paiva, Kyrgyzstan (Skira, 2007); Kyrgyzstan Foreign Policy and Government Guide (International Business Publications, 2004).
Heather K. Michon Independent Scholar
Land Component of Models
CLIMATE MODELS simulate the interactions between the atmosphere, and the ocean and land surface beneath it. The land properties that matter most to the atmosphere include land elevation; the the presence of mountains, for example, can strongly affect the flow of air, causing it to rise and fall, thus creating zones of high and low rainfall.
The albedo of the land, which determines how much of the incident sunlight is reflected, depends critically on the nature of the ground cover, whether it is snow, ice, sand, or vegetation. The moisture content of the soil has a strong effect on the hydrologi-cal cycle, for example, the amount of evaporation into the atmosphere, and the amount of run-off into rivers and lakes. The roughness of the land surface affects the flow of air, which can become very turbulent near the surface.
Since climate models have reached a new generation of sophistication, the type and scope of variables employed in models have also changed. Perhaps the most startling change in model specifications has been the replacement of single variables to represent the three principal components of land, ice, and atmosphere, with numerous variables to account for these parts.
In terms of the land component, the single variable used in early models, which did not distinguish between land and sea, has been replaced by a suite of variables that model not just land and sea, but as many as three layers of land, including overlays of snow or ice, and a vegetation layer. The elevation of the land has also been incorporated into models, together with its impact on the albedo of the land—that is, the degree to which solar energy is reflected back away from the surface. Recent work has focused on the interaction between component parts. For example, the pressure and temperature of the land and the air or sea adjoining it will have significant impacts on the horizontal and vertical fluxes of masses of air, water vapor, or water. The interaction between land and sea ice also has implications for the flow of salt to and from different components, and this is important because salinity leads to different forms of behavior, with respect to interactions. Seasonality has also been modeled, as its impact on temperature has important effects over many parts of the land, particularly for Eurasia.
In technical terms, improvements to the land component derive from more sophisticated handling of fractional processes and turbulence. The actions and behavior of non-solids in turbulence remains one of the most complex areas of mundane physics.
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