3 obvious examples of global climate change in Georgia
Originally published on Dec 6, 2015
These changes are most evident high in the mountains. However, they could be seen only by those, who actually clime the mountains and have a chance to observe them. In other words, the vast majority of our fellow citizens are unaware of them. For the time being.
‘The total area of the glaciers has considerably reduced,’- said Nodar Elizbarashvili, Professor of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Tbilisi State University, when asked to provide the most clear example of changes. There is more dust and soot in the air each year. They are deposited on the glaciers, sometimes covering them completely. And if the glassy-clear ice reflect the sun rays, when covered with soot and dust layer, on the contrary, they absorb them, melt and disintegrate. Oliko Tsiskarishvili, a reporter, who not just covers the environmental issues in Georgia, but also monitors them, answered the same question as follows: I travel to Chalaati glacier in Svaneti every year. So, this year it was 157 meters farther than last year.
Chalaati glacier, photo by Oliko Tsiskarishvili
Droughts and floods have recently become a commonplace in Georgia. According to the statistics, natural calamities have become more frequent since late ’90s; within the period from 1998 till 2008, there were about 130 floods and, at the same time, dozens of regions were affected by droughts.
There have been strong hail storms at different times almost in the whole territory of Georgia this summer. Crops have been completely destroyed in many agricultural regions.
Experts warn that soil exhaustion is inevitable in the foreseeable future. Besides, by the most optimistic projections, 10 percent of agricultural land will become unfit for farming due to mud and landslides. It’s high time to take actions in order to minimize future losses: for example, to adjust a flood prevention system; to build protective barriers; to develop anti-drought plan etc. But regrettably, there haven’t been any serious developments in this regard in Georgia.
Flood in Tbilisi. June, 2013. Photo by Tbilisi municipality
Climate going crazy
16 degrees in August and 26 in February. A thunderstorm in December and snow in May. Or the extreme cold winters and unusually hot summers. It has certainly happened before as well, but now we are facing these manifestations of the global climate change almost every year. Winters in Georgia are becoming more severe and summers – hotter. Looking at the statistics, it has become about half a degree warmer in Georgia over the past 20 years. And that’s a contribution to the global piggy bank – the air temperature on the Earth is expected to increase by average 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century.
Greenhouse gases are the main cause of these calamities. Environmentalists around the globe call for reduction of their emissions at any cost. In 1997, almost all countries across the world signed a legally binding agreement – the Kyoto Protocol. Initially, a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions concerned only the advanced economies – the USA, Japan, Canada and the European Union countries. However, since 2021, similar commitment will be assigned to the economically less successful countries, including Georgia.