Cryospheric Observation and Modelling for Improved Adaptation in Central Asia (CROMO-ADAPT)

The countries of Central Asia rely on cryospheric components such as glaciers, snow and permafrost for water resources and therefore, the mountain systems of the Tien Shan and Pamir constitute the water reservoirs for the entire region. Climate change exerts growing pressure on these cryospheric components and will generate increasing challenges in terms of water resource management (WRM) and disaster risk reduction (DRR). Effective regional and national mitigation and adaptation strategies to tackle such challenges are elaborated based on Climate Scenarios – themselves built with calibrated models fed with high quality baseline data. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) advocates to close gaps in the global climate observing system in high mountain environments, especially in Central Asia, where “Climate Services” are globally ranked the lowest and where data concerning Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) are largely missing.

The previous projects CATCOS (2011-2016) and CICADA (2017-2020) led by the University of Fribourg in partnership with local institutions and research teams, re-established a reliable and sustainable Glacier Monitoring Network throughout several countries of Central Asia. This was achieved through actions of Capacity Building in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan, including training of local scientists in glaciological work, providing of observational infrastructure for ECVs, and awareness building among the populations. Building on these achievements, the CROMO-ADAPT project aims to expand the monitoring to other crucial cryospheric variables such as permafrost and snow to create an openly-accessible and high-quality database for cryospheric ECVs in Central Asia. The network is intended to be locally managed, which will be attained again through cooperation with local institutions and training of local scientists in the additional cryospheric variables’ data measurements and analysis.

The obtained cryospheric data will be developed into user-friendly data products and climate services. To demonstrate their relevance to local and regional stakeholders, the products will be used in pilot cases for selected water catchments in Central Asia. For each catchment, scenarios will be developed and targeted WRM and DRR measures will be explored and conceptualized. This will enable stakeholders and decision-makers to integrate these cryospheric data products in the elaboration of national and regional planning policies and adaptations measures to climate change.


  • Expanding past activities (CATCOS and CICADA) to encompass the whole cryospheric domains and integrate them sustainably into national monitoring networks.

  • Developing specific Climate Services based on the measured data for data-users and decision-makers and embedding the new activities in the overall domain of Climate Services.

  • Adding value to the data through application within WRM activities in cooperation with/by national data users, stakeholders and international experts.

  • Providing advanced training and support for our regional partners focusing on the use of the gathered monitoring data within WRM applications.

  • Estimating future cryospheric changes for the three components (glaciers, snow, and permafrost) in four specific hydrological catchments and proposing adaptation measures that respond to the specific WRM and DRR challenges in each catchment.

  • Overall goal: to inform policy making, planning and implementation of adaptation measures in the water and risk management sectors in Central Asia, based on high quality cryospheric data (including glaciers, snow and permafrost), model predictions and long-term climate information services.

  • Illustrations
    Intervention sites in Central Asia for the project CROMO-ADAPT

Duration: 2022-2025

Study Area: Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan

Funded by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), University of Fribourg, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and landscape Research (WSL): Institute for Snow and Avalance Research SLF

Swiss partners : Prof. Martin Hoelzle (UniFR), Dr. Tomas Saks (UniFR), Dr. Joel Fiddes (SLF), Dr. Christin Hilbich (UniFR), Tamara Mathys (PhD candidate UniFR), Enrico Mattea (PhD candidate UniFR), Anouk Volery (MSc student UniFR)


Martin Hoelzle

Department of Geosciences

University of Fribourg
Chemin du Musée 4

CH–1700 Fribourg

   +41 26 300 90 21