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Observed climate changes and scenarios for South Caucasus

Aremnia: The national trend of a warmer and drier climate that has been observed over the last 80 years is forecast to continue throughout the 21st century. Temperatures are predicted to increase 1.3–1.7°C by 2040, 2.6–3.2°C by 2070 and 3.3–4.7°C by 2100 (MoNP 2015). Summers will see the greatest increase in temperature, followed by winter. The understanding of how climate change will affect precipitation trends is less clear, but there is a general trend towards drier and hotter summers. Pre-montane and montane regions can, however, expect a slight increase of precipitation by the mid-21st century (MoNP 2015). Azerbaijan: The current trend towards a warmer climate is projected to continue. Climate models indicate an average annual increase of 1.5–1.6°C by 2021–2050 and 3–6°C by 2070–2100 across the entire country. Maximum temperatures are also predicted to increase and may reach 47–53°C. There is less certainty about precipitation trends. According to Azerbaijan’s Second National Communication to the UNFCCC, precipitation is projected to increase by 10–20 per cent towards 2050 compared to the period 1961–1990. Towards the end of the century, precipitation is expected to increase by 20 per cent in the west and 80 per cent in the east, while the Nakhchivan is expected to become drier with a 20 per cent reduction in precipitation in comparison to 1961–1990 (MoENR 2010). Other studies, however, predict that precipitation will decline by 5–23 per cent towards the end of the century (UNDP 2011). Georgia: According to Georgia’s Third National Communication to the UNFCCC (MoENRP 2015), the country will continue to experience warmer temperatures towards the mid- and late part of the century. Average annual temperatures are expected to increase by 0.8–1.4°C by 2050 and 2.2–3.8°C towards 2100 (MoENRP 2015). The temperatures in the mountainous areas of the northwest of Georgia, such as Mestia and Ambrolauri, are predicted to be among the areas with the greatest temperature increase by the end of the century. Data on precipitation is less certain than for temperatures. According to Georgia’s Third National Communication to the UNFCCC, precipitation is expected to increase in nearly all of the territory up to 2050, but then drastically decline towards 2100. The exception is the central part of the Likhi Range (Mta-Sabueti) where precipitation is predicted to increase by 93 per cent. According to a UNDP study conducted in 2011 under the Environment and Security Initiative, the change in precipitation varies between 0–24 per cent decrease towards end of this century. Both frosty days and nights are expected to decrease in Georgia, and frosty days will only be characteristic for mountainous areas by the end of the century. Similarly, hot days are expected to increase, mainly in summer and autumn. The number of hot days may double in some of the mountain areas, such as Tsalka, Pasanauri, Ambrolauri, and Goderdzi Pass. Increases in heavy precipitation are expected with a concomitant risk of increasing floods, flash floods, mudflows and landslides in the mountain areas (MoENRO 2015).

Year: 2015

From collection: Outlook on Climate Change Adaptation in the South Caucasus Mountains

Cartographer: GRID-Arendal/Manana Kurtubadze

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