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Zarina Saidaliyeva

Photograph of Zarina Saidaliyeva

Areas of interest

  • Climate change
  • Glaciers
  • Isotope hydrology
  • Water resources
  • Central Asia

Research centres and groups

Environmental Science Research Division

Research projects

Assessment of snow, glacier and permafrost melt contributions to runoff in the Tien Shan using isotopic analysis

My research project is focused on rivers of Central Asia (CA) which start in the mountains and supply up to 90% of water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use on the plain. The cryosphere, including seasonal snow pack, glacier ice, rock glaciers and permafrost, nourishes these rivers.

The ongoing climatic warming has resulted in the degradation of the cryosphere. Climate modelling suggests that the observed warming will continue into the twenty-first century contributing to further degradation of the cryosphere and affecting water availability and quality in CA.

The main aim of my PhD is to quantify relative contributions of different components of the cryosphere to runoff using stable isotopes. Resolving this uncertainty is important for the development of the cost-effective adaptation strategies in this densely populated, water-deficient and low-income region.

Lead Supervisor:

Professor Maria Shahgedanova (University of Reading)


Professor Andrew Wade (University of Reading)



I am an early career researcher from Kazakhstan. I graduated from the al-Farabi Kazakh National University with the First Class BSc and an MSc degrees in Hydrometeorology. I worked as a Junior Research Scientist in the Department of Glaciology at the Kazakhstan Institute of Geography, Almaty collaborating with the University of Reading on several research projects focusing on impacts of climate change on glacier retreat and water availability.

This work inspired me to take a wider look at how different components of the cryosphere affect water availability and quality combining fieldwork, lab-based research and modelling. These ideas enabled me to win the University of Reading International PhD Studentship and start my PhD.

Currently, in addition to my own work, I am actively collaborating with research institutes from four other Central Asian countries on two projects: (i) Solutions to secure clean water in the glacier-fed catchment of Central Asia - what happens after the ice? (SCWAI)  and (ii) Central Asia Research and Adaptation Water Network (CARAWAN).




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