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Climate Change in Pakistan

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Climate Change in Pakistan

Climate change is a global phenomenon; however, it affects the Indo-Pak sub-continent more than any other region. Recently, out of season, hot flashes have severely affected humans and crops.

Pakistan is an agricultural country and the months of March, April and May, before the monsoon, are generally dry and hot. This heat and drought are essential for crop ripening and any well-established climate disruption is a major threat to crops and eventually leads to food shortages.

For example, this year, temp in some areas are average 50°C and sometimes below 0°C in some areas. Given that the Pakistani economy is mainly based on agriculture, this poses a serious threat of drought and food shortages. The highest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan is 53.5 °C which was recorded in Moenjo DaroSindh on 26 May 2010. It was not only the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan but also the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia.

There is a need for immediate, regional and global action to verify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which are the main cause of climate change. Although awareness of climate change has spread to the world, but to the general public, especially in developing countries; it almost ignores the adverse effects of climate change. Therefore, it is essential that information on this phenomenon is disseminated at the grassroots level so that farmers and ordinary citizens can protect themselves from the adverse effects of global warming and extremely unpredictable temperature regimes.

The Effect of Climate Change on the Weather of Pakistan

Global climate change has begun to affect Pakistan’s climate especially in Pakistan, where huge anomalies have been observed for temperature and precipitation during the current winter of 2017.

The impact of global climate change is of such magnitude that the winter of this year has already begun in the first decade of February 2019. After February 10, temperatures above 30°C were continuously recorded during the day. This is a huge anomaly, as temperatures are unknown this season before early March. Nights have also done the same, and on several occasions, the night minimum has passed 59 ° F while the long-term average is 49 ° F – a difference of 10 ° F.

Precipitation was also severely affected, with total monthly precipitation not exceeding one-fifth of an inch, while the long-term average is 1.5 inches – a difference of -34% from normal.

All of this has resulted in the escape of the winter season, which has become a standard in this place in recent decades. Before the 1970s, the winter season in Pakistan began in November and continued until the end of March. Currently, the start and end months are December and February. Winter has been reduced by two months in the last forty years.

In terms of the long-term average, if you look at the data for the last 100 years, the February average temperature in Pakistan has already risen by 4 degrees F, which is more than double the global average.

These temperature and precipitation anomalies pose a serious threat to cash crops in central Punjab, where Lahore is located. Wheat is on the results list. In the end, this will affect the country’s economy, mainly based on agro-food.

Meteorologists have differing views on Lahore’s temperature projections over the next 50 years, but the prevailing view is that the temperature can increase by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few decades. If this happens, given the rapid decrease in rainfall, crops will experience severe hydrothermal stress that will hinder their growth and development.

In short, developing countries are suffering the effects of global climate change and the phenomenon of climate change poses a real threat to their economies. It takes time to take effective action at the global level to verify or at least slow down the trend of global warming in the coming years.

Past and expected climate change in Pakistan

In the last century, the average annual temperature in Pakistan has increased by 0.6 ° C, which is in line with the global trend. The temperature increase in northern Pakistan is higher than in southern Pakistan (0.8 ° C vs. 0.5 ° C). Precipitation in Pakistan has also increased on average by around 25%.

Studies based on the overall results of several Global Circulation Models (GCMs) predict that the average temperature in Pakistan will increase by 1.3 to 1.5 ° C by 2020 from 2.5 to 2.8 ° C C by 2050 and 3.9 to 4.4 ° C by 2080, which corresponds to an increase in global mean surface temperature of 2.8 to 3.4 ° C by the end of the 21st century. Precipitation is expected to increase slightly in summer and decrease in winter without significant change in annual precipitation. In addition, it is expected that climate change will increase the variability of monsoon rains and increase the rate and severity of extreme events such as floods and droughts.

Major concerns related to climate change

The main potential threats related to climate change for Pakistan are:

  • Increased variability of the monsoon;
  • The rapid recession of Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalayan glaciers (HKH) threatening water inflow into the Indus River system (IRS); reduction of natural reservoir capacity due to melting glaciers and rising snow cover;
  • Increased risks of floods and droughts;
  • Increased siltation of major dams, resulting in greater loss of reservoir capacity;
  • Severe water and heat stress conditions in arid and semi-arid regions, resulting in reduced agricultural productivity and power generation;

The above threats are of great concern to Pakistan in terms of water security, food security, and energy security. Other concerns of Pakistan related to climate change include increased deforestation; loss of biodiversity; increased health risks (heat stroke, pneumonia, malaria, and other vector-borne diseases) and risks to other vulnerable ecosystems (e.g. pastures, degraded lands, mountainous areas, etc.).

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