In July 2012 Lake Tez-Tor in Kyrgyzstan, swollen with water from melting glaciers, burst and flooded the inhabited Ala Archa Valley.
This was not an isolated incident – climate change is having a major impact on Central Asia, with retreating glaciers leading to large scale flooding, avalanches and mudslides, with often disastrous results.
Understanding how the environment is altering through ongoing monitoring is key to coping with the effects of climate change. Only then is it possible to devise mitigation and adaptation strategies and create early warning systems to protect lives and livelihoods.
Various monitoring initiatives have begun, involving glaciologists and geohazard experts across Central Asia and Europe. This international collaborative research generates large amounts of data which needs to be shared, often in short timescales from remote locations.
Consequently, the fight to mitigate climate change relies on high-speed research networks, such as CAREN (in Central Asia) and GÉANT (in Europe) to underpin these vital activities.