1. The twentieth-century migration of parabolic dunes and wetland formation at Cape Cod National Sea Shore, Massachusetts, USA: landscape response to a legacy of environmental disturbance

Steven L. Forman, Zhanay Sagintayev, Mohamed Sultan, Stephen Smith, Richard Becker, Margaret Kendall and Liliana Marìn

The Holocene 2008; 18; 765

DOI: 10.1177/0959683608091796

Abstract: Cape Cod, an early North American colony, was covered by mature forest prior to European contact but, with settlement in the late seventeenth century, aeolian processes dominated into the twenty-first century. An aerial  photographic time series from AD 1938 to 2003 quantifies dune movement that reflects processes over centuries and documents accelerated parabolic dune movement at ~4 m/yr from 1938 to 1977 during a drier interval. In contrast, dune movement between 1987 and 2003 slowed to ~1 m/yr with wetter conditions. Wetlands expand post dune movement often forming in dune blowouts with seasonally wet conditions. Stratigraphic studies, coupled with optically stimulated luminescence ages, place erosion and burial of the presettlement forest soil by migrating dunes at AD 1690 ± 40 yr, with aeolian deposition continuing into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, consistent with the historic record of land surface conditions. A threshold of landscape stability was exceeded in the late seventeenth to early eighteenth centuries, indicated by dune formation in response to human-induced land-cover changes, concomitant severe droughts and exposure to tropical storm/hurricane wind field. Dune orientation indicates preferential movement during winter with winds dominantly from the W–NW and with reduced vegetation cover. The present high biodiversity in interdunal wetlands is a legacy of aeolian processes from landscape disturbance initiated by European settlers in the seventeenth century.

Key words: Holocene aeolian activity, parabolic dunes, wetland formation, remote sensing, Cape Cod, historic landscape disturbance, Massachusetts. 

The full article is here

2. Geochemical, isotopic, and remote sensing constraints on the origin and evolution of the Rub AL Khali aquifer system, Arabian Peninsula

M. Sultan a, N. Sturchio, S. Al Sefry, A. Milewski, R. Becker, I. Nasr, Z. Sagintayev


Abstract: Chemical and stable isotopic compositions of groundwater samples from the Rub Al Khali (RAK) in southern Saudi Arabia were analyzed. Samples were collected from wells of variable depth (1.5–800 m) along the perimeter of the eastern half of the RAK including flowing artesian wells, pumped wells (formerly artesian), and shallow handdug wells encompassing those in sabkha areas. Data indicate that the water from the artesian and formerly artesian wells represents the contents of confined aquifers. Such water (Group 1) is isotopically depleted (d2 H values ranging from 60 to 35), and has total dissolved solids (TDS) concentrations ranging from 1300 to 76,000 mg/L, indicating that much of the salinity is acquired in the subsurface. Water from shallow hand-dug wells including those in sabkha areas (Group 2) has experienced significant evaporation (d2 H values ranging from 34 to +19) as well as salinization (TDS as high as 92,000 mg/L) by dissolution of sabkha salts including halite and gypsum. Stable isotope data for the Group 2 water samples define an evaporation trend line originating from the Group 1 water samples. This relationship indicates that the Group 2-type water evolved from Group 1-type water by ascending through structural discontinuities, dissolving evaporative salts, and undergoing substantial near-surface evaporation in groundwater discharge zones (sabkhas) characterized by shallow groundwater levels (<2 m). This interpretation is supported by the relatively unradiogenic Sr isotope ratios of groundwater samples (Sr87/Sr86 = 0.70771–0.70874) that are inconsistent with that of modern seawater (87Sr/86Sr = 0.70932). The RAK aquifer water represents either high-elevation recharge from the Red Sea Hills, and/or recharge largely formed of paleo-water precipitated during moist climate intervals of the late Pleistocene recharging aquifers cropping out at the foothills of the Red Sea mountains. This inference is supported by a progressive decrease in hydraulic head and increase in groundwater salinity from west to east, substantial precipitation over the Red Sea Hills, and a major E–W trending channel network that channels precipitation from the Red Sea Hills toward recharge areas. Analysis of 3-hourly TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission: 1998–2006) precipitation data and digital elevation data shows that 27% of the average annual precipitation (150 · 109 m3 ) over the Arabian Peninsula is channeled toward the recharge zone of the RAK aquifer system, of which an estimated 4 · 109 m3 a1 to 10 · 109 m3 a1 of this water is partitioned as recharge to the RAK aquifer system. Additional integrated studies on recharge rates, sustainability, and water quality issues for the RAK aquifers could demonstrate that the RAK is one of the most promising sites for groundwater exploration in the Arabian Peninsula. Results highlight the importance of investigating the potential for sustainable exploitation of similar large aquifer systems that were largely recharged in previous wet climatic periods yet are still receiving modest modern meteoric contributions.

Key words: Saudi Arabia; Rub Al Khali; Red sea hills; Groundwater recharg and discharge; Tropical rainfall measuring mission; Oxygen, hydrogen, and strontium isotopes

The full article is here

3. Trace element geochemistry of groundwater from Quetta Valley, western Pakistan

Shuhab D. Khan,  Khalid Mahmood, Mohamed I. Sultan, Abdul S. Khan, Yingqian Xiong, Zhanay Sagintayev

DOI 10.1007/s12665-009-0197-z

Abstract: This manuscript presents major, minor and trace elements data for groundwater samples collected from wells, tube wells, springs and karezes from Quetta Valley. Quetta Valley in Pakistan has frequently experienced shortage of groundwater. In recent years, the water quality has had a sharp decline at many locations. The study of groundwater resources in this valley is an attempt to understand the causes of and sources of contamination. At several locations, nitrate, sulfate, arsenic, selenium, chromium and nickel contamination has been determined. The preliminary results indicate that these contaminations apparently result from a combination of rock alteration and mining activity in the area. Different water sources could have also contributed to the deterioration of the water quality of Quetta Valley. This research provides the basis for future work, which will involve detailed hydrological modeling and water quality studies.

Keywords: Groundwater chemistry, Trace elements, ICP-MS,  Arsenic, Ultramafic rocks

The full article is here

4. A remote sensing contribution to hydrologic modelling in arid and inaccessible watersheds, Pishin Lora basin, Pakistan

Z. Sagintayev, M. Sultan, S. D. Khan, S. A. Khan, K. Mahmood, E. Yan, A. Milewski, and P. Marsala

DOI: 10.1002/hyp.8114

Abstract: The lack of adequate field measurements often hampers the construction and calibration of rainfall-runoff models over many of the world’s watersheds. We adopted methodologies that rely heavily on readily available remote sensing datasets as viable alternatives for assessing, managing, and modelling of such remote and inadequately gauged regions. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool was selected for continuous (1998–2005) rainfall-runoff modelling of one such area, the northeast part of the Pishin Lora basin (NEPL). Input to the model included satellite-based Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission precipitation data, and modelled runoff was calibrated against satellite-based observations, the latter included: (i) monthly estimates of the water volumes impounded by the Khushdil Khan (latitude 30°400 N, longitude 67°400E), and the Kara Lora (latitude 30°340 N, longitude 66°520 E) reservoirs, and (ii) inferred wet versus dry conditions in streams across the NEPL. Calibrations were also conducted against observed flow reported from the Burj Aziz Khan station at the NEPL outlet (latitude 30°200 N; longitude 66°350 E). Model simulations indicate that (i) average annual precipitation (1998–2005), runoff and recharge in the NEPL are 1300 ð 106 m3, 148 ð 106 m3, and 361 ð 106 m3, respectively; (ii) within the NEPL watershed, precipitation and runoff are high for the northeast (precipitation: 194 mm/year; runoff: 38 ð 106 m3/year) and northwest (134 mm/year; 26 ð 106 m3/year) basins compared to the southern basin (124 mm/year; 8 ð 106 m3/year); and (3) construction of delay action dams in the northeast and northwest basins could increase recharge from 361 ð 106 m3/year up to 432 ð 106 m3/year and achieve sustainable extraction. The adopted methodologies are not a substitute for traditional approaches, but they could provide first-order estimates for rainfall, runoff, and recharge in the arid and semi-arid parts of the world that are inaccessible and/or lack adequate coverage with field data. Copyright  2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 

KEY WORDS: Pishin Lora basin; Balochistan; Pakistan; continuous rainfall-runoff model; soil water assessment tool; remote sensing

The full article is here

5. Red Sea rifting controls on aquifer distribution: Constraints from geochemical, geophysical, and remote sensing data

M. Sultan, A.F. Yousef, S.E. Metwally, R. Becker, A. Milewski, W. Sauck, N.C. Sturchio, A.M.M. Mohamed, A. Wagdy, Z. El Alfy, F. Soliman, M. Rashed, D. Becker, Z. Sagintayev, M. Ahmed, and B. Welton

doi: 10.1130/B30146.1

ABSTRACT: Highly productive wells in the Central Eastern Desert of Egypt are tapping groundwater in subsided blocks of Jurassic to Cretaceous sandstone (Taref Formation of the Nubian Sandstone Group) and Oligocene to Miocene sandstone (Nakheil Formation), now occurring beneath the Red Sea coastal plain and within the proximal basement complex. Aquifer development is related to Red Sea rifting: (1) rifting was accommodated by vertical extensional displacement on preexisting NW-SE– to N-S–trending faults forming a complex array of half-grabens and asymmetric horsts; and (2) subsided blocks escaped erosion accompanying the Red Sea–related uplift. Subsided blocks were identified and verified using satellite data, geologic maps, and field and geophysical investigations. Interpretations of very low frequency (VLF) measurements suggest the faults acted as conduits for ascending groundwater from the subsided aquifers. Stable isotopic compositions (δD: –19.3‰ to –53.9‰; δ18O: –2.7‰ to –7.1‰) of groundwater samples from these aquifers are interpreted as mixtures of fossil (up to 70%) and modern (up to 65%) precipitation. Groundwater volumes in subsided blocks are large; within the Central Eastern Desert basement complex alone, they are estimated at 3 × 109 m3 and 10 × 109 m3 for the Nakheil and Taref Formations, respectively. Results highlight the potential for identifying similar rift-related aquifer systems along the Red Sea–Gulf of Suez system, and in rift systems elsewhere. An understanding of the distribution of Red Sea rift–related aquifers and modern recharge contributions to these aquifers could assist in addressing the rising demands for fresh water supplies and water scarcity issues in the region.

The full article is here

6. Monitoring the freeze-up and ice cover progression of the Slave River

Apurba Das, Jay Sagin, Joost Van der Sanden, Earl Evans, Henry McKay, and Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt

Abstract: River ice is an important component to maintain traditional and cultural lifestyles for the peoples along the Slave River in the Northwest Territories. During the winter a stable ice cover provides a vital transportation link to hunting, trapping, and fishing areas along the river. However, little was known about the Slave River ice cover characteristics and behaviour during the freeze-up and ice cover progression period. RADARSAT-2 satellite and time-lapse camera imagery were used in this study to document the different types of ice and understand the mechanisms of ice cover formation progression along the river during the course of winter. Time-lapse images were analyzed to observe the frazil ice generation and patterns of stable ice cover formation of the Slave River near Fort Smith during freeze-up. RADARSAT-2 images acquired from the Slave River Delta areas captured ice cover flooding due to higher river flows in mid-winter. Field surveys along the river provided insights about the ice cover growth in various sections along the river. Air pockets and layers under the ice cover were also detected during the ice surveys. The variation of water flows during the winter has a great impact on the Slave River ice regime. Increases in discharge cause the ice cover to crack or dislodge from the river banks leading to water seeping onto the ice and flooding it, which has implications for muskrat and beaver populations.

Key words: Slave River, river ice freeze-up, RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery, time-lapse imagery.

The full article is here

7. The changing water cycle: the Boreal Plains ecozone of Western Canada

A. M. Ireson, A. G. Barr, J. F. Johnstone, S. D. Mamet, G. van der Kamp, C. J. Whitfield, N. L. Michel, R. L. North, C. J. Westbrook, C. DeBeer, K. P. Chun, A. Nazemi, and J. Sagin

doi: 10.1002/wat2.1098

Abstract: The Boreal Plains Ecozone (BPE) in Western Canada is expected to be an area of maximum ecological sensitivity in the 21st century. Successful climate adaptation and sustainable forest management require a better understanding of the interactions between hydrology, climate, and vegetation. This paper provides a perspective on the changing water cycle in the BPE from an interdisciplinary team of researchers, seeking to identify the critical knowledge gaps. Our review suggests the BPE will likely become drier and undergo more frequent disturbance and shifts in vegetation. The forest will contract to the north, though the southern boundary of the ecotone will remain in place. We expect detrimental impacts on carbon sequestration, water quality, wildlife, and water supplies. Ecosystem interactions are complex, and many processes are affected differently by warming and drying, thus the degree and direction of change is often uncertain. However, in the short term at least, human activities are the dominant source of change and are unpredictable but likely decisive. Current climate, hydrological, and ecological monitoring in the BPE are limited and inadequate to understand and predict the complex responses of the BPE to human activities and climate change. This paper provides a case study of how hydrological processes critically determine ecosystem functioning, and how our ability to predict system response is limited by our ability to predict changing hydrology.

The full article is here 

8. Influence of hydrological connectivity on winter limnology in floodplain lakes of the Saskatchewan River Delta, Saskatchewan

Brett D. MacKinnon, Jay Sagin, Helen M. Baulch, Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt, and Timothy D. Jardine

Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 73: 140–152 (2016)

Abstract: Globally, hydrological connectivity between rivers and their floodplains has been reduced by river flow management and land transformation. The Saskatchewan River Delta is North America’s largest inland delta and a hub for fish and fur production. To determine the influence of connectivity on limnology within this northern floodplain, water chemistry and stable isotopes (18O and 2H) were analyzed during the winter of 2014 in 26 shallow lakes along a hydrological gradient. A total of five lake connectivity categories were determined by optical remote sensing imagery of surface water coverage area from years of varying flood intensities. Accuracy of categories was verified by degree of 18O and 2H enrichment within lakes. Both isotopes showed marked successional enrichment between connectivity categories, with more isolated lakes exhibiting greater enrichment. Water chemistry in lakes with greater connectivity to the main channel were characterized by higher pH, dissolved oxygen, nitrates, and sulfates and lower total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and ammonium compared with more isolated lakes.These findings illustrate how connectivity influences water chemistry in northern floodplain lakes and how it might determine the suitability of these lakes as winter refuge for fishes. Additionally, our study provides supporting evidence for the effective use of optical remote sensing imagery, an inexpensive and accessible source of data for researchers, when determining connectivity characteristics of large northern floodplain systems. Additionally, this study provides further evidence that the inundation of floodplain lakes by river water during peak discharge has an impact on the conditions within the lakes long into the winter ice-cover season. Understanding the year-round influence of river–floodplain connection is imperative for assessing potential impacts of climate change and future water regulation on such ecosystems.

The full article is here 

9. Groundwater inflow modeling for a Kazakhstan copper ore deposit 

Zhanay Sagintayev, Zhaiyk Yerikuly, Slyamhan Zhaparkhanov, Vladimir Panichkin, Oxana Miroshnichenko, Shamshagul Mashtayeva

Abstract: Mining exploration is widely spread throughout Kazakhstan and it is an important part of the country’s economy. However, mining can create landslides, as well as both surface and groundwater pollution. The purpose of this research is to model the water movement and water volume changes for one of Kazakhstan's mining operations. In this study, we have modeled and predicted the water volume changes within a mining operation for the next 50 years, until the year 2065. The sulphide-ore mining operation, which was studied, is located in East Kazakhstan. Several mining development scenarios with groundwater volume changes were prepared. One of the modeling scenarios was related to the mining pit exploration up to a depth of 100 meters. The groundwater inflow was computed at 106.3 m3/hour, or 2551.6 m3/day for this scenario. Another modeling scenario for the same mining pit had a depth at 585 meters. The groundwater inflow for this scenario was computed at 268.6 m3/hour, or 6447.3 m3/day. Calibration and verification were provided for the modeling work, and results were compared to the water balance. The results of this work could be considered for the engineering design to drain the groundwater from the mining pit. This research work and methodology are replicable and could be applied to other mining explorations and groundwater inflow prediction analyses. The methodology can be adapted to open pit mines under similar conditions.

The full article is here 


Jay Sagin, Valentina Salybekova, Dulat Kalitov, Vyacheslav Zavaley, Timur Rakhimov

Abstract: The article reports the results of groundwater treatment for hexavalent chromium on the Ilek industrial site located at the Aktobe district in Kazakhstan. This study describes specific techniques, practices, and methodologies currently being employed on sites with the so-called “historical contamination” in Kazakhstan using in situ technology. The goal of this technology is to reduce Cr (VI) in groundwater and contaminated soil to the more thermodynamically stable Cr (III) by creation of reactive zones in the aquifer where migrating contaminants are intercepted and permanently immobilized or degraded into harmless end products. All work is performed by injecting reagent in a contaminated groundwater plume and allowing them to “react” with the contaminants. The main difference of the current work with the standard in situ treatment technology is in creating the so-called hydrocycles when after a period of reagent injection, a phase of water injection that starts to pressurize and enlarge the area of reagent delivery which is then followed by a period of pumping and reinjecting for the further intensification of the treatment process. The process of treatment is controlled based on a numerical model to add or exclude injection wells from the pumping net. Results from chemical reduction experiments on the contaminated zone shows a considerable decrease of hexavalent chromium from 53 mg/L to 0.05 mg/L, indicating that in situ treatment using hydrocycles may be an effective approach when deployed at the field scale. The results of successful treatment are proved by the absence of secondary contamination during three-year monitoring on a site after a period of work performed.

The full article is here 

11. A water coverage extraction approach to track inundation in the Saskatchewan River Delta, Canada

Jay Sagin, Anton Sizob, Howard Wheater, Timothy D. Jardinec and Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt

International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2015

Vol. 36, No. 3, 764–781,

Abstract: Tracking surface water coverage changes is a complicated task for many regions of the world. It is, however, essential to monitor the associated biological changes and bioproductivity. We present a methodology to track contemporary water coverage changes using optical remote sensing and use it to estimate historical summer water coverage in a large river delta. We used a geographical information system automated routine, based on the modified normalized difference water index, to extract the surface water coverage area (SWCA) from optical satellite data sets using the surface water extraction coverage area tool (SWECAT). It was applied to measure SWCA during drought and flood peaks in the Saskatchewan River Delta in Canada, from Landsat, SPOT and RapidEye images. Landsat results compared favourably with Canadian National Hydro Network (CNHN) GeoBase data, with deviations between SWCA classifications and the base CNHN GeoBase shapefile of ~2%. Difference levels between the extracted SWCA layer from Landsat and the higher resolution commercial satellites (SPOT and RapidEye) were also less than 2%. SWCA was tightly linked to discharge and level measurements from in-channel gauges (r2 > 0.70). Using the SWCA versus discharge relationship for the gauge with the longest record, we show that peak summer SWCA has declined by half over the last century, from 13% of our study area to 6%, with likely implications for fish and wildlife production.

The full article is here 

12. Spatial and Temporal Variability of Snow Depth Derived from Passive Microwave Remote Sensing Data in Kazakhstan


Abstract: Snow cover plays an important role in the hydrological cycle and water management in Kazakhstan. However, traditional observations do not meet current needs. In this study, a snow depth retrieval equation was developed based on passive microwave remote sensing data. The average snow depth in winter (ASDW), snow cover duration (SCD), monthly maximum snow depth (MMSD), and annual average snow depth (AASD) were derived for each year to monitor the spatial and temporal snow distribution. The SCD exhibited significant spatial variations from 30 to 250 days. The longest SCD was found in the mountainous area in eastern Kazakhstan, reaching values between 200 and 250 days in 2005. The AASD increased from the south to the north and maintained latitudinal zonality. The MMSD in most areas ranged from 20 to 30 cm. The ASDW values ranged from 15 to 20 cm in the eastern region and were characterized by spatial regularity of latitudinal zonality. The ASDW in the mountainous area often exceeded 20 cm.

Key words: snow cover, snow depth, remote sensing, passive microwave, spatial and temporal variations, Kazakhstan

The full article is here 

13. Assessment and forecasting of the subsurface drain of the Aral Sea, Central Asia

V. Panichkin, J. Sagin, O. Miroshnichenko, L. Trushela, N. Zakharova, Z. Yerikuly and Y. Livinskiy

ABSTRACT: Mathematical simulation techniques have been used to study the subsurface water-lake system. The volume of the subsurface drain from the Syrdarya artesian basin (Kazakhstan) into the Aral Sea depression was computed subject to the geoinformation-mathematical model of its hydrogeological conditions. Since the surface and subsurface (underground) water are interconnected, their movement has been measured during the undisturbed period (1960), the epignostic (1961–2014) period, and for forecasting problems for 2044 under two water withdrawal options. The first forecast option assumes the same withdrawal volume of subsurface water level which existed at the end of 2014. The second forecast option envisages the model assignment (from the start of 2015) of the water withdrawal in the production volumes of the subsurface water approved by the National Reserves Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The simulation results showed that the technogenic factors in the explored area have a significant impact on the movement of the subsurface and surface water. Reduction of the Syrdarya and Amudarya rivers flows, production of subsurface water with multiple water-intake and unowned self-flowing wellbores promoted the desiccation of the Aral Sea. The proposed mathematical simulation technique used to assess the subsurface drain proved its efficiency and can be used for surveying the similar subsurface water-lake systems. 

KEYWORDS: Groundwater; mathematical model; GIS; Aral Sea

The full article is here 

14. Underground water resources in Kazakhstan

J. Sagin, D. Adenova, A. Tolepbayeva and V. Poryadin

ABSTRACT: The assessment of natural resources and the ecological demand for underground  ater in Kazakhstan is based on a water-balance equation which considers underground lateral flow, hydrogeoecological regions and river basins. We propose a methodology to estimate the underground water resource for this region. The flow of water in all the rivers of Kazakhstan is estimated at 102.3 km3/year, of which 57.6 km3/year originates in the territory of the country, and 44.7 km3/year in the adjacent countries. With potential increase of the underground water usage up to 15.5 km3/year, the surface water volume could be decreased to 5 km3/year. Optimization of water resource use should be based on the introduction of the water-efficient process of reinjecting and recycling the water supply in all branches of industry, and a reduction in losses during distribution.

KEYWORDS: Ecosystems; water balance; underground water; resources

The full article is here 

15. The changing water cycle: Burabay National Nature Park, Northern Kazakhstan

Vadim Yapiyev, Zhanay Sagintayev, Anne Verhoe, Anara Kassymbekova, Marzhan Baigaliyeva, Dauren Zhumabayev, Daniyar Malgazhdar, Damira Abudanash, Nurlan Ongdas and Saltanat Jumassultanova

WIREs Water 2017, 4:e1227. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1227

Abstract: Water resources in Central Asia are scarce, so complicated issues arise from this. Kazakhstan is a Central Asian landlocked country, which has mostly closed drainage basins, characterized by endorheic lakes that do not drain to the oceans. These endorheic lakes are very sensitive to climate change and anthropogenic influences. Very few studies have been conducted on the hydrological cycle of the small endorheic lakes. This work reviews the endorheic lakes within Burabay National Nature Park (BNNP), Northern Kazakhstan. BNNP is a small ecozone consisting of terminal lakes watersheds covered by mixed forests and grasslands. These endorheic lakes have been drying out during the last one hundred years or so with the water level decrease accelerated in the past few decades. According to historical observations (1935–2014), on the one hand precipitation amounts did not significantly change, while on the other hand, air temperature steadily increased. The lake level decrease is most probably caused by a water budget deficit, with evaporation exceeding the precipitation inputs in the long term. The direct anthropogenic impact (water abstraction) plays a minor role in the deterioration of water levels, with most significant impacts through localized land-use changes such as road and building construction in the catchments. The future of the park’s sensitive ecosystems in a changing climate is uncertain; therefore, BNNP requires modern ecohydrological monitoring methods and analysis tools to improve our understanding of its hydrological cycle variability, and to enable us to develop adequate adaptation and mitigation measures.

The full article is here 

16. Essentials of Endorheic Basins and Lakes: A Review in the Context of Current and Future Water Resource Management and Mitigation Activities in Central Asia

Vadim Yapiyev, Zhanay Sagintayev, Vassilis J. Inglezakis, Kanat Samarkhanov  and Anne Verhoe

Abstract: Endorheic basins (i.e., land-locked drainage networks) and their lakes can be highly sensitive to variations in climate and adverse anthropogenic activities, such as overexploitation of water resources. In this review paper, we provide a brief overview of one major endorheic basin on each continent, plus a number of endorheic basins in Central Asia (CA), a region where a large proportion of the land area is within this type of basin. We summarize the effects of (changing) climate drivers and land surface–atmosphere feedbacks on the water balance. For the CA region, we also discuss key anthropogenic activities, related water management approaches and their complex relationship with political and policy issues. In CA a substantial increase in irrigated agriculture coupled with negative climate change impacts have disrupted the fragile water balance for many endorheic basins and their lakes. Transboundary integrated land and water management approaches must be developed to facilitate adequate climate change adaptation and possible mitigation of the adverse anthropogenic influence on endorheic basins in CA. Suitable climate adaptation, mitigation and efficient natural resource management technologies and methods are available, and are developing fast. A number of these are discussed in the paper, but these technologies alone are not sufficient to address pressing water resource issues in CA. Food–water–energy nexus analyses demonstrate that transboundary endorheic basin management requires transformational changes with involvement of all key stakeholders. Regional programs, supported by local governments and international donors, which incorporate advanced adaptation technologies, water resource research and management capacity development, are essential for successful climate change adaptation efforts in CA. However, there is a need for an accelerated uptake of such programs, with an emphasis on unification of approaches, as the pressures resulting from climate change and aggravated by human mismanagement of natural water resources leave very little time for hesitation.

Keywords: endorheic; lake; Central Asia; Kazakhstan; water resources; climate change; evaporation; drylands; semi-arid

The full article is here 

17. Prospects of floating photovoltaic technology and its implementation in Central and South Asian Countries

M. Abid, Z. Abid, J. Sagin, R. Murtaza, D. Sarbassov, M. Shabbir

Abstract: Many regions around the globe, especially South Asia including Afghanistan and Pakistan and Central Asia, have extreme difficulties in accessing portable water and a stable energy supply. Some areas are covered with arid soil and salty water, while others have power transmission problems. Water evaporation from reservoirs is also another problem during high temperatures, thereby posing additional energy and water demands. This paper discusses the multiple prospects of floating photovoltaic technology in different regions of the world and highlights the importance of such technologies in already water-scarce regions like South Asia and Central Asia. This technology will prove to be highly feasible as it is an environment friendly and cost efficient and will help in reducing evaporation, achieving sustainable water supply and clean energy production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There is very minimal work done on floating solar technology; thus, there is immense need to explore and research on this technology on every level through information sharing.

Keywords: Clean energy, Evapotranspiration, Floating, Photovoltaic, Submerged PV panels,  Sustainable, Power

The full article is here 

18. Estimation of water storage changes in small endorheic lakes in Northern Kazakhstan

Vadim Yapiyev, Kanat Samarkhanov, Nazym Tulegenova, Saltanat Jumassultanova, Anne Verhoef, Zarina Saidaliyeva, Nursultan Umirov, Zhanay Sagintayev, Assel Namazbayeva

Abstract: Both climate change and anthropogenic activities contribute to the deterioration of terrestrial water resources and ecosystems worldwide, with Central Asia and its endorheic lakes being among the most severely affected. We used a digital elevation model, bathymetry maps and Landsat images to estimate the areal water cover extent and volumetric storage changes for eleven small terminal lakes in Burabay National Nature Park (BNNP) in Northern Kazakhstan from 1986 to 2016. Based on the analysis of hydrometeorological observations, lake water balance, lake evaporation and Budyko equations, driven by gridded climate and global atmospheric reanalysis datasets, we evaluate the impact of historical climatic conditions on the water balance of the BNNP lake catchments. The total surface water area of the BNNP lakes decreased by around 7% for that period, mainly due to a reduction in the extent of three main lakes. In contrast, for some smaller lakes, the surface area increased. Overall, we attribute the decline of the BNNP lakes’ areal extent and volume to the prolonged periods of water balance deficit when lake evaporation exceeds precipitation. However, during the most recent years (2013–2016) precipitation increased and the BNNP lake levels stabilized.

Keywords: Endorheic Lake, Central Asia, Evaporation, Semi-arid, Kazakhstan, Climate change, Landsat, Burabay

The full article is here 

19. Spatial and temporal variabilities of maximum snow depth in the Northern and Central Kazakhstan

Marat Moldakhmetov, Lyazzat Makhmudova, Zhanara Zhanabayeva, Alina Kumeiko, Mohammad Daud Hamidi, Jay Sagin

Abstract: This article examined the dynamics of maximum snow cover in the Northern and Central Kazakhstan for the period from 1935 to 2012. Certain number of data from weather stations was collected for both regions (Northern and Central Kazakhstan) of the country in order to observe the spatial and temporal changes in glaciers. Mann-Kendall test along with sequential version of MK test and simple linear regression was used in the analysis. The analysis revealed regularities of the changes in maximum snow depth over spatial and temporal scales. Cumulative sum uncovered a change in trend, which indicated the data of global warming possibly affected the glacier. Periodicities in glacier changes were weakly related to the weather patterns like North Atlantic Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillations. Obtained results, regularities, and inferences can be used in further studies of snow cover and water flow of the rivers, as well as for practical purposes. Recent changes in climate and hydrological flow of the observed catchment became evident for contemporary glaciations evolving hydrological implications of the cryosphere alterations in the study area. Findings of the study are useful in examining the differences in water availability on spatial and temporal scales due to limited availability of the glaciers in the region.

Keywords: Snow cover, Snow cover duration (SCD), Height of the snow cover, Climate change

The full article is here 

20. Between boreal Siberia and arid Central Asia – Stable isotope hydrology and water budget of Burabay National Nature Park ecotone (Northern Kazakhstan)

Vadim Yapiyev, Grzegorz Skrzypek, Anne Verhoef, David Macdonald, Zhanay Sagintayev


Study region: Burabay National Nature Park (BNNP) of North Kazakhstan is located between humid boreal forests and an arid steppe of Central Asia. 

Study focus: The stable hydrogen and oxygen isotope analyses of precipitation, stream, lake and  ground waters were used for water budget calculations of the BNNP endorheic lake system to assess the impact of increasing aridity on lakes in this most continental part of the Earth. New hydrological insights for the region: The stable isotope results confirmed two different types of lakes in BNNP: Burabay and Shortandy Lakes are more similar to higher latitude lakes (e.g. South Siberia), while Kishi and Ulken Shabakty Lakes are more comparable to the steppe lakes of Central Asia. The slopes of evaporation lines for this region, obtained by regression analysis of lake water samples, ranged from 4.57 (steppe lakes) to 6.21 (forest lakes). The evaporation over inflow ratios (0.34 Burabay, 0.69 Ulken Shabakty, and 0.53 Shortandy) are in good agreement with catchment water budget calculations reflecting different groundwater inputs and water retention times. The recent water level rise in the Ulken Shabakty Lake terminal basin was observed for the first time in a decade. This increase can be explained by the ‘fill and spill’ hypothesis and suggest that a single unusually wet year may significantly replenish water resources despite long-term increasing aridity of the region.

Keywords: Endorheic lake, Evaporation, Fill and spill, Water balance, Stable isotopes, Groundwater

The full article is here 

21. Glacier Observation (Mass Balance) - Upper Kabul River Basin

Hedayatullah Arian, Abeer Ahmad Sajood, Mariam Sajood

Abstract: In the July 06, 2017 the Hydrometeorology of Department of Geoscience Faculty, Kabul University laid down the foundation of new academia and launched the Observation/Monitoring of the Glaciers for the first time ever in Afghanistan in Upper Kabul River Basin by doing a site visit (Mass Balance Measurement) and installing the measurement sticks, the subjected glacier is located in 150 KM to north side of the Kabul city, in Chumar Valley, Paryan District, Panjshir province of Afghanistan. The local people call the glacier Pir Yakh which means (Old Ice) the Pir Yakh glacier is the biggest Glacier in the province by 2.1 KM length and 0.8 KM wide, the glacier tongue starts on 4,400 M above the sea level and the accumulation zone pique ends on 5,070 M above the sea level. The Kabul University Mass Balance Measurement mission began on July 06, 2017 and finished on July 08, 2017 and last for three days, first day on 03:00 AM we moved toward the glacier form Kabul and 08:30 PM camped on the Chumar valley, next day at 4:00 AM we moved to Glacier and reached on 2:00 PM on the glacier tongue by 3:15 we reached to a proper location for installing the first measurement stick by 4:30 after installing the second stick we moved toward the camp and by 8:00 reached to the camp, our camp was 2,950 m walking distance of the glacier, next day early morning we moved toward the Kabul and by 9:00 PM we reached to Kabul city. Due to time budget limitation and we couldn’t go to upper glacier zone (Accumulation Zone) to do Snow pit, but for next year plan to do a complete Mass Balance Measurement by scheduling more time and a proper budget. 

The full article is here

22. Impact assessment of climate change on water resources in the Kabul River Basin, Afghanistan

Mohammad Tayib Bromand

Abstract: Water resources in the Kabul river basin have been increasingly stressed by climate change and population growth. Assessment of long-term impacts of projected changes in climate, population, land use and land cover and ground water availability of catchment water resources is critical to the sustainable development in the Kabul river basin. The overall objective of this study include: (1) to fully estimate water availability potential based on quantitative; (2) to apply several climate scenarios to identify the precipitation and temperature trends for the purpose of climate change impact assessment: (3) to evaluate the sectoral water demand (irrigation, domestic, environment and industries); (4) water stress evaluation in the Kabul river basin. In this study local and global data sets collected and the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT2012) model were applied to evaluate water availability potential and statistics have been applied to estimate sectoral water demand. The model shows its capability in producing the streamflow discharge in the calibration process. The performance criteria of R2 computed indicates that the model satisfactory simulates the streamflow volume in the catchment during 2008 to 2012. In the sensitivity analysis, it was found that the parameters of TIMP, SMTMP, GW_DELAY and CN were the most sensitive parameters to the model output. Using an optimum data available, three different climate change scenarios (A2, A1B and B1) being applied in the in the model for simulation of past and future water availability. The investigated hydrodynamic characteristics were rainfall, snowfall, surface water, evaporation and potential evapotranspiration. These impacts have been investigated using the SWAT model for the twenty first century. The study found that the Kabul river basin is very sensitive to population explosion and climate fluctuations, suggesting that slight increase in the mean temperature could alter present hydrologic conditions and its water resources. Based on the result obtained, by increasing mean temperature 2.9°C in the period of 2046 - 2064, the Kabul river basin will experience a water scarcity, the study area will face about 24% reduction in water availability and expected that potential evapotranspiration increase about 18%. SWAT successfully achieved the aim of this study; to test its capability as a hydrological model for climate impact assessment and to assess the impact of climate change on water resources in the study area. Nevertheless, uncertainty cannot be avoided in this study since the utilization of the modelling for making the future prediction.

The full article is here

23. Detrimental Effects of Climate Change on Women

Zaineb Abid, Muhammad Abid, Qudsia Zafar, Shahbaz Mehmood

Abstract: Earth is undergoing inevitable changes in its climate as a result of both natural and man-made activities, e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes, rapid urbanization, population growth, agricultural intensification, etc. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change as they are more likely to be economically dependent than men and have less access to education and information that would allow them to manage climate-related risks to agriculture and livestock. Women make up the majority of the world’s poor population. They tend to suffer more from the impacts of climate-related disasters and severe weather events due to regional cultural norms and unfair distribution of roles, resources, and power, especially in developing countries. Their role in combating climate change is seldom appreciated even though they give priority to their families even in the times of droughts and scarcity of food and water resources. This paper sheds light on climate change and its relation to women in different scenarios of the changing climate. These include agriculture, biodiversity, water, natural disasters, wars, migration, pollution, health and sanitation, education, disempowerment, security, social and psychological and human rights. Lastly, to mitigate the effects of climate change on women, recommendations to involve international funding organizations are also discussed.

Keywords: Vulnerability ,Women , Climate change, Policies

The full article is here 

24. Challenges of transboundary water governance in Afghanistan

Saiyed Momin Nori

Abstract: Afghanistan has five major river basins which four of them are transboundary and shared with Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian Countries (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan). Transboundary water governance and bilateral or regional agreements and cooperation with riparian countries have always been challenging for Afghanistan. Continuous war and insecurity left a fragile governance system in Afghanistan. Lack of human capacity in terms of policy making and strategic planning and weak economy in one hand and the limited hydrometeorological data and technical knowledge about Water management on the other hand, alienated Afghanistan from all cooperative frameworks on Amu Darya River and two other its major river basins. In this paper, the initiatives and plans which have been implemented by the Afghan Government and international community for enhancing human capacity and hydro-meteorological data acquisition for developing a suitable mechanism for managing transboundary waters for the purpose of economic growth of Afghanistan and regional cooperation on transboundary water between Afghanistan and riparian countries have been analyzed. However, several challenges still exit in terms of water management in Afghanistan to be tackled in. The challenges which Afghanistan has been experiencing in last forty years in water governance sector based on academic and policy literatures being reviewed and some solutions for overcoming the challenges are provided. In conclusion, steps and measures which further needed to be put forward by the Afghan government and international community to reach a regional cooperation framework on transboundary waters between Afghanistan and other riparian countries are proposed.

Keywords:  Transboundary waters, water governance, regional cooperation, economic development, strategic planning

The full article is here 

25. River flow analyses for flood projection in the Kabul River Basin

Mohammad Assem Mayar, Hamidullah Asady , Jonathan Nelson

Abstract: Flooding is one of the critical natural disasters in Afghanistan, causing huge social and economic losses on an annual basis. Due to lack of historical data and long gaps in the recorded data, flood predictions are usually associated with large uncertainties. The available hydrological data are collected before and after the Afghan civil war period. This long gap and climate change effects split the dataset and faces a challenge of using either dataset alone for predicting flood characteristics. In this study, first, the two datasets are compared to find river flow variation in terms of peak and frequency. Next, the river flow variation effects on flood peaks for each return period are analyzed to determine the flood projection. The results show that flood peaks have raised while the mean discharge in the basin is reduced during the second period. The frequency analyses show a change in high and low flow days in the recent period. In addition, the flood recurrence results show that the utilization of single period data for return period flood predictions yield huge variation, while the analyses using the combined dataset show a reasonable estimation of flood characteristics. Furthermore, the comparison of calculated flood peaks based on the first period and combined dataset show that flood peaks have an upward trend.

Keywords: River flow, variation, flood, projection, Kabul River Basin

The full article is here 

26. Assessing Meteorological and Agricultural Drought in Chitral Kabul River Basin Using Multiple Drought Indices

Muhammad Hasan Ali Baig, Muhammad Abid, Muhammad Roman Khan, Wenzhe Jiao, Muhammad Amin and Shahzada Adnan

Abstract: Drought is a complex and poorly understood natural hazard in complex terrain and plains lie in foothills of Hindukush-Himalaya-Karakoram region of Central and South Asia. Few research studied climate change scenarios in the transboundary Chitral Kabul River Basin (CKRB) despite its vulnerability to global warming and importance as a region inhabited with more than 10 million people where no treaty on use of water exists between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This study examines the meteorological and agricultural drought between 2000 and 2018 and their future trends from 2020 to 2030 in the CKRB. To study meteorological and agricultural drought comprehensively, various single drought indices such as Precipitation Condition Index (PCI), Temperature Condition Index (TCI), Soil Moisture Condition Index (SMCI) and Vegetation Condition Index (VCI), and combined drought indices such as Scaled Drought Condition Index (SDCI) and Microwave Integrated Drought Index (MIDI) were utilized. As non-microwave data were used in MIDI, this index was given a new name as Non-Microwave Integrated Drought Index (NMIDI). Our research has found that 2000 was the driest year in the monsoon season followed by 2004 that experienced both meteorological and agricultural drought between 2000 and 2018. Results also indicate that though there exists spatial variation in the agricultural and meteorological drought, but temporally there has been a decreasing trend observed from 2000 to 2018 for both types of droughts. This trend is projected to continue in the future drought projections between 2020 and 2030. The overall study results indicate that drought can be properly assessed by integration of different data sources and therefore management plans can be developed to address the risk and signing new treaties.

Keywords: Chitral Kabul River Basin; drought monitoring; remote sensing; agricultural drought; meteorological drought

The full article is here