Melting Glaciers Threaten Central Asia

Just in case we’ve forgotten about the Big Weather question while biting our nails worrying about the Republican backlash next week, here’s an article to remind us of the bigger picture out there. And it ain’t a pretty picture:

Kyrgyzstan: Melting Glaciers Threaten Central Asia’s Ecological and Energy Future

This year, according to the whitewater-rafting guide, the water was too high, it was too dangerous. The group of beginners he was guiding down one of Kyrgyzstan’s most accessible rivers couldn’t handle the rapids ahead. Downstream, reservoirs were overflowing, causing authorities to lament the loss of precious water in summertime when it isn’t needed to make electricity.

The source of the problem is melting glaciers. In fact, Kyrgyzstan’s glaciers are starting to recede at an alarming rate. With them, the country’s once limitless supply of fresh water – and electricity – is washing away. The change threatens to disrupt a vital cycle: the glaciers melt in the summer when the water fills up reservoirs needed to produce power during the cold winter months when the glaciers accumulate again. Bishkek depends on hydropower to create 93 percent of the country’s electricity and hopes – to its downstream neighbors’ vexation – new hydropower plants will help end chronic shortages.

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Read the rest of the article on Eurasianet here.

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