PALESCA - Palaeoclimate, Environmental Change and Social Interaction in Central Asia – connecting Institutional and Citizen Science
We will develop integrative investigation concepts at selected focus sites in Kyrgyzstan within “Natural Labs” as a model for forthcoming larger projects.
In an integrated approach from studies of palaeoclimate archives (lake sediments, tree rings, speleothems), parallel sea, dendro, speleo and dust monitoring and the inclusion of the widest possible participation of the local population via "Citizen Science" projects are planned. We will investigate anthropogenic feedback processes, as well as amplitudes and repetition rates of climatic and tectonically induced extreme events (droughts, floods, earthquakes, landslides) on different time scales. Natural climate archives open up the possibility of going far beyond the temporal framework of instrumental or historical data and thus also to understand the natural background of climate variability.
The PALESCA project will bring together active partners in the mountain regions of Kyrgyzstan from the areas of "palaeoclimatic research" and "mountain societies" in order to translate scientific results into improved living conditions of the population, especially in remote mountainous regions. The particular challenge, but also the chance, is to combine the rather different approach and the way of thinking of geo-oriented and sociologically orientated partners and to lead to a new quality. The main focus is the combination of the “Learning Landscape” concept developed by MSRI Bishkek and special "Citizen Science" activities with existing monitoring activities of the GFZ Potsdam and the evaluation of paleo-environmental and climatic data on different timescales. To this end, we will develop model approaches together with local actors in "Natural Labs" at selected focus sites, which are to be incorporated into larger networks in subsequent projects.
The project will focus on the coordination and expansion of monitoring activities and the inclusion / training of students from Kyrgyzstan (e.g. 2 summer schools) and the involvement of citizens at the local level through Citizen Science Projects and local education centers. Through the participation of governmental and non-governmental organizations, a close connection between science, institutional "stakeholders" and citizens is to be guaranteed from the outset.
Parallel to our lake monitoring, we are currently constructing several measuring points with special PALMEX rainwater collectors for the isotope analysis of precipitation (snow and rain), with the main aim to understand isotopic variations found in natural archives (trees, lake sediments, speleothems).