16. Tian Shan • Kazakhstan
We have selected 100 unique places on Earth that are projected to undergo profound changes within the next few generations. We based our selection of the 100 places on the 4th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Simply by drawing attention to the beauty of these places, 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear creates an argument to preserve them. The 100 Places we have chosen to highlight, and the people who live in them, are in serious danger because of rising sea levels, rising temperatures and extreme weather events triggered by climate change. Among ambassadors are Joss Stone, Desmund Tutu for more info visit http://www.100places.com. The Ancestral Home of the Apple Farmers and cattle-breeders on the northern plains at the foot of the Tian Shan mountain range in Kazakhstan have been dependent on melt water from Central Asian glaciers for 3,000 years. In the 10th century, the settlement of Almaty was founded on the northern leg of the ancient network of trade routes, the Silk Road. Almaty derives from the Kazakh word for apple and, with its wide diversity of wild varieties, this region is thought to be the ancestral home of the modern domestic apple. Almaty is the largest city in the Republic of Kazakhstan with a population of 1.3 million. The Almaty region is also the economic powerhouse of the nation, accounting for 20% of total industrial production and 30% of its agriculture. The water supply for the whole area stems from glaciers in the 2,000-kilometre northern Tian Shan mountain range and is shared by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and China. Millions of people in the three countries depend on the glacier melt-off for drinking water, irrigation and industrial production. In the last 50 years, the glaciers have lost about 36% of their mass due to a small but pervasive rise in mean annual temperature. With temperatures projected to increase further due to global warming, this grim trend is expected to accelerate. In the long term, it will result in a severe decrease in melt water from glacial runoff. At the same time, demand for water is growing fast in this rapidly developing area. Any reduction in the available supply would not just jeopardise Kazakhstans agricultural and industrial development. Many of the dwindling rivers and glaciers cross state frontiers, so competition for declining resources would intensify and could eventually imperil the political stability of the whole region.