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Climate evolution in Central Asia during the past few million years: A case study from Lake Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan



The sedimentary record of the Lake Issyk-kul in the NW Tien Shan holds a long climatic history for this environmentally sensitive region. We plan to examine the sediment records of the lake, focusing on the time frame through the Pliocene and into the late (and maybe middle) Miocene. The sediment archive provides insight into

  • glacial history in the hinterland (i) 2-3 Ma, (ii) 150 -10 ka
  • vegetation history, diversity patterns as a reaction on specific climate states,
  • dust mobilisation as a reaction on changed atmospheric patterns
  • erosional history for different time windows, like (i) since 10 Ma, (ii) 4 Ma, (iii) 150 ka

The erosional history will be a focus of interest as an expression both of regional and global climate manifested by prevailing westerly winds, the Arctic vortex, and the Siberian High Pressure System, and of local tectonic development. Accordingly, we consider local changes in the catchment area due to orographic changes.

The data base gathered for the Issyk-Kul archive, not just alone but especially when compared with other regional and global paleoclimatic records, will lead towards a better understanding of the connection between regional climatic change holding information on the development, contribution and integration of the Central Asian climate system with its specific components contributing the evolution of global climate.



Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Lake Issyk-Kul



42° 30' N, 77° 30' E (Please scroll down to end of page for more information.)


Principal Investigators
  • Hedi (Hedwig) Oberhänsli, Museum fuer Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity at the Humboldt University Berlin
  • Peter Molnar, University of Colorado at Boulder, Department of Geological Sciences, Geomicrobiology



Asia, ICDP-2009/13, ISSYK-KUL, Lake Drilling, Lake Issyk-kul, Late Tertiary, Local Tectonics


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