Dr Maria Shahgedanova

Institutional Links partnership between the Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Reading University and the Institute of Geography of the Ministry of Education of Kazakhstan.

Project title: ‘Climate Change, Water Resources and Food Security in Kazakhstan’


Funding Started: 01.04.2015

Funding Ends: 31.03.2017

Project website

The project involves a large group of researchers including nine researchers from the University of Reading; twenty researchers from the Institute of Geography, Kazakhstan; four researchers from Nazarbayev University; and researchers from al-Farabi Kazakh National University.

This project aims to help farmers, representatives of local administration, and members of the Rural Water Users Association in the region under investigation in Kazakhstan to better adapt to current climate changes via dissemination of the research results.

Dr Maria Shahgedanova, Associate Professor, and UK project lead, said:

‘This project enables us to provide detailed information about climate change and water resources using the state-of-the-art methods of monitoring and modelling. In our work we use automatic weather station to collect data on glacier melt and on the state of the agricultural fields; we use the newest satellites to characterise soil moisture and the state of vegetation, and we use climate, hydrological and crop models to predict future climate, runoff and to estimate yields as a function of both climate, water availability and management.

The complex of these observations and simulations will enable regional and local authorities to manage water more efficiently and adapt to the future climate change.

Farmers will be able to use irrigation and fertilisers in a more efficient way and improve yields. We work with the water user and farming communities very closely and they are very interested in our work - it will be true to say that the project is a truly joint effort.’


Dr Maria Shahgedanova


  • Publication  of two peer-reviewed papers
  • Two solicited presentations at American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in 2015
  • One presentation delivered at the Mountains of the Future Earth 2015 conference
  • One presentation at the Central Asian Forum
  • Two presentations submitted to the International Glaciological Symposium, May 2015

Joint field works and regular exchange visits: several early career researchers from Kazakhstan visited Reading in 2015-2016 during which the young scientists attended research group meetings and seminars, received hands-on training from the academics at Reading University.

Further impact from the project: Nazarbayev University Research and Innovation System (NURIS) and the Reading University (UREAD) jointly applied for the Erasmus Plus exchange programme for academics. Zarina Saidalieva, Kazakhstan Institute of Geography (KIG), has been shortlisted for the prestigious International Scholarship awarded annually by the University of Reading. 

All of the above is expected to contribute to improvement in research skills and excellent performance of the early career researchers.


(1) Usmanova, Z., M. Shahgedanova, I. Severskiy, G. Nosenko and V. Kapitsa. Assessment of Glacier Area Change in the Tekes River Basin, Central Tien Shan, Kazakhstan Between 1976 and 2013 Using Landsat and KH-9 Imagery. Submitted to The Cryosphere.

(2) Kapitsa, V., M. Shahgedanova, I. Severskiy, A. Medeu.  Inventory and Assessment of Changes in the Mountain Lakes in the Djungarsky Alatau between 2002 and 2014 using Landsat imagery. Submitted to The Crysophere. 

(3) Zhumabayev, D., M. Shahgedanova, D. Hein. Assessment of Climate Change in Kazakhstan using an ensemble of high-resolution climate models. To be submitted to Environmental Research Letters in July 2016. 


(1) Usmanova, Z. et al.(2015) Assessment of Glacier Area Change in the Tekes River Basin, Central Tien Shan, Kazakhstan Using Landsat Imagery. Mountains of the Future Earth 2015, Oct 2015, Perth, UK. 

(2) Kogutenko, L. et al. (2015) Tuyuksu Glacier as an Indicator of Changes in the Zailiiskiy- Kungei - Alatoo Glacial System in the Last 60 Years. The 2015 Fall American Geophysical Union Meeting, Dec 2015, San Fransisco, USA. Solicited talk.

(3) Shahgedanova, M. et al. (2015) Mountains of Central Asia in the Warmer World.  The 2015 Fall American  Geophysical Union Meeting, Dec2015, San Fransisco, USA.  Solicited talk.

(4) Usmanova, Z. et al.(2016) Assessment of Glacier Area Change in the Tekes River Basin, Central Tien Shan, Kazakhstan Using Landsat Imagery. Central Asia Forum, Mar 2016, Cambridge, UK.

(5) Zhumabayev et. al. (2016) Assessment of Climate Change in Kazakhstan using the high-resolution climate model PRECIS. Central Asia Forum, Mar 2016, Cambridge, UK.