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Climate Fluctuations in Tien Shan


Study of Quaternary Climate Fluctuations in Tien Shan: Glaciation and Level's Fluctuations in Closed Lakes Issyk-Kul and Chatyrcul (Kyrgyzstan)

Tech Area / Field

  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences
  • OBS-GEO/Geology/Other Basic Sciences

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Kulikov G G

Leading Institute
Institute of Water Problem & Hydropower Engineering, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • VNIITF, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Snezhinsk


  • Smithsonian Institution, USA, DC, Washington\nUniversity of Minnessota / Large Lakes Observatory, USA, MN, Duluth

Project summary

During 1997 to 2000, researchers from the Institute of Water Problems and Hydropower, the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Minnesota conducted paleoclimate studies of Lake Issyk-Kul under two projects: “Quaternary Record of Lake-Level Oscillation and Climate Change: Lake Issyk-Kul Kyrgyzstan” and “The Late Quaternary Paleoclimatic Archives of Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan: Calibration and Extension of the Sedimentological/Geochemical Proxy-Record”. Over 40 sediment cores were collected from offshore sites as well as numerous collections of nearshore biological buildups called “microbialites”. Establishment of a chronology for these geological materials is necessary to fully utilize the paleoclimatic information they hold. The aforementioned projects and others in planning stages may be substantially supplemented by ISTC support specifically in the areas of:

1. Radiocarbon dating of the Issyk-Kul near shore and deep lake terraces, deep sediments, and glacial moraines.

2. Establishment of correlative paleoclimatic research on the Lake Chatyr-Kul, a closed-basin lake located in the glacial/nival zone of the inner Tien-Shan at an elevation of 3,530 meters. Long sediment cores will be taken from Chatyr-Kul and isotopic, chemical, sedimentological, and pollen analyses will be performed on the recovered sediment. Radiocarbon analyses will be done on the core sediments and on lake terraces and glacial moraines in the basin.

The research under the project will:

1. Allow for a reconstruction of fluctuations in lake-level and glacial extent in the Issyk-Kul and Chatyr-Kul basins during the Holocene and late Pleistocene.

2. Supplement information about central-Asian paleoclimate for international projects such as the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme's (IGBP) Past Global Change Project (PAGES) PEP II transect.

3. Allow for a correlation of the Quaternary climate (and more specifically glacial extent) in the Tien-Shan with the lake level fluctuations of Lakes Issyk-Kul and Chatyr-Kul.

4. Assist in making modern forecasts of regional climate change and Issyk-Kul lake-level fluctuation considering past patterns of change.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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