Climate Change

Future climate change will affect both the natural resources and ecosystems of the region and the Dniester Basin as well as their population and economy.

The analysis of a set of regional climate models based on a “moderate” А1B scenario of global greenhouse gas emissions has showed that, compared to 1981-2010, the mean annual maximum and minimum air temperatures are expected to increase by 1.0-1.2°С by mid-century (see the table and the map). At the same time, an increase in the minimum temperature is likely to be larger than the maximum temperature, resulting in the monthly and annual amplitude reduction. Warming is expected to be the greatest in the cold season, especially in winter months. By the mid-21st century, a change in the moisture regime is possible in the Dniester Basin. Although the total annual amount of precipitation will not change significantly (with the selected scenario, its increase and decrease are equally probable), it is possible that it will significantly redistribute between seasons and months. The period without rain is likely to get longer, but the intensity and frequency of heavy precipitation (especially heavy rain) and its uneven distribution throughout the basin will increase. In general, a softer and more humid winter, a hotter and drier summer, a warm and humid September, and a more arid and warmer autumn can be expected in the basin. The analysis of expected changes by mid-century compared to 1971-2000 shows the same trends (see the table), although the quantitative parameters of these changes are somewhat different due to differences in the climatic characteristics of the two basic periods.


Img 1.1 Expected changes in the average climate temperature and precipitation during different periods


Resources and Economy Sectors Most Vulnerable to Climate Change in the Dniester Basin

  • Water Resources
    • Increased variability of the flow regime and volume, especially in the middle and lower reaches of the Dniester.
    • Deterioration of surface water quality due to increased temperature, reduced runoff, and anthropogenic pollution.
    • Continued decline of groundwater levels.
    • Further deterioration of the status of small rivers.



  • Forest Resources
    • Probable change in species composition and change in height ranges of tree species (the Carpathians).
    • Disappearance of certain hygrophilous species in the middle and lower reaches of the Dniester.
    • Probable emergence of new diseases and pests.
  • Ecosystems and Wetlands
    • Biodiversity decline.
    • Reduction of indigenous species’ habitat area due to drying up.
    • Water quality deterioration and introduction of alien species.
  • Ichthyofauna
    • Decrease in species composition.
    • Disappearance or reduction of spawning grounds.
    • Increased impact of invasive species.
  • Agriculture
    • Increased frequency and intensity of droughts and other extreme events.
    • Irrigation water shortage.
    • Impairment of fertility due to soil salinization, erosion and landslides.
    • Decreased productivity and degradation of pastures.
    • Emergence of new plant pests and animal diseases.
  • Water Supply
    • Groundwater level decrease.
    • Drying wells and springs – the main sources of water in rural areas.
    • Possible shortage of available water resources in the lower reaches of the basin and deterioration of water quality.
  • Infrastructure
    • Possible deterioration due to high summer temperatures, heavy rainfall, floods.
  • Population
    • Risk to life due to extreme weather and hydrological events.


Img 1.2 The ratio of climate change issues in the Dniester basin.


Useful Information:

  • In 2013 – 2017, the Dniester component of the project “Climate Change and Security in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus” (implemented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE )), resulted in the development of the Strategic Framework for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Dniester River Basin and its implementation plan.
  • This document also includes the results of analysis of climate change in the Dniester River Basin and an integrated vulnerability analysis for the basin (please see Publications).
  • The document was approved by Moldova and Ukraine in Kyiv in April 2015.
  • Within the framework of this project, measures for adaptation to climate change were determined in three areas: improving the information base on adaptation to climate change, ecosystem adaptation, restoration and protection of ecosystems, and awareness raising.