Climate Change Impact on Seasons in Pakistan

Climate change is an inevitable phenomenon which has lasting effects on the survival of mankind. Despite Pakistan’s vulnerability to Climate Change, it has been given less priority by the government due to other national issues of high concern. The climate change in Pakistan has resulted in extreme weather conditions, torrential rainfalls, irregular floods, droughts, sea-level rise, glacier melting etc. Currently, Pakistan has been ranked seventh among countries that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. According to the World Bank report, Pakistan has suffered 3.86 billion losses annually due to climate change. The depletion of natural resources, water shortage and food insecurity are some of the risk factors because of rapid climate change trends in Pakistan. The climate change has grave impacts on the economy and health sector in Pakistan. In a recent monsoon rainfall distribution analysis by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), it has been reported that over the past three decades the climate change has resulted in a 100 kilometers spatial shift towards west in the overall monsoon pattern in Pakistan. There is a spatial as well as seasonal shift in the rainfall distribution patterns. The summer monsoon has shifted towards the end of the season and similarly the winter rains have shifted towards late February and March. The temperature rise in Pakistan has the potential to trigger rapid melting of glaciers in the North and leading to “flash floods” in the country.

Climate change is no longer a far-off problem; it is happening here, it is happening now. — Former President of USA Barack Obama.

Pakistan’s greenhouse gases emissions have doubled in last 2 decades. On a global scale, Pakistan ranks 135th in per capita GHG emissions in the world. The agriculture sector is the victim of abrupt climate change in a country. 65-70% of country’s population is directly or indirectly related to agriculture. The arid and semi-arid zones are the most vulnerable to climate change as these regions are already facing water shortage and high temperature. The seasonal changes are changing sowing time for crops which consequently changes irrigation requirements which modify the properties of soil and increase the risk of pest and disease attack, negatively altering agricultural productivity. The recent studies indicate that Pakistan’s 22.8% land and 49.6% population is at risk due to impacts of climate change. The diseases which are transmitted by vectors for example malaria, dengue cholera etc. Those are already causes of low mortality rate in Pakistan are climate sensitive. Climate change scenarios have resulted in an increase in the epidemic potential for 12-27 percent for malaria and 31-47 percent of dengue. People across Pakistan are now experiencing unpredictable rainfall, increased temperatures and changes to the seasons. Other changes vary by region, such as increased rainfall and extreme weather events in Sindh and decreased rainfall in Baluchistan. The Climate Asia Report found that compared with the other countries in this study, Pakistanis feel most strongly that these changes are having a high level of impact on their lives now (there were around 4,000 respondents to the survey in Pakistan). There are many solutions to climate change which involve community, individuals, governments and other agencies of the world. More and more trees should be planted. Energy should be used efficiently. Renewable power sources should be adopted. The garbage should not be burned or burry in landfills. It may be made composts for kitchen gardens. The loss of water in any form should be checked. Electric automobiles should be preferred. Recycling is one of the most effective ways to check carbon emissions. Media should spread awareness regarding the effects of climate change. Use eco-friendly appliances. The treatment of industrial waste should be made mandatory all over the world. Governments should start taking this problem seriously. They should start investing in projects which can try to minimize climate change. Plastic should not be used. Environment-friendly shopper bags should be used. Use of aerosol sprays should be minimized. The misuse of fertilizers should be avoided. Water should be used wisely. The power generation should be done by environmental friendly means. Conservation practices should be adopted regarding agriculture.

Climate change impact on agriculture

Climate change and agriculture are reticular procedures, both of which take place on a global scale. Climate change affects agriculture in many ways such as nutritional quality reduction of many foods, temperature, rainfall, food security and so on.

Climate change is already affecting agriculture with lowered crop products in low latitude countries. Climate change also has a devastating impact on food security as well. Due to climate change average crop yield is likely to drop to 50% in Pakistan reported by the Met office scenario. Rapid climate change could double the harm on agriculture in those countries which are already suffering from poor soil and climate conditions.

In central and south Asia crop yields might decreases up to 30% predicted by International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As, Pakistan is an agro-based and ranked 12th among other countries of the world that are predicted to be sternly over blown by climate change.

During the last two decades, 200 million have been hoist out of hunger and ubiquity of long term mal-nutrition in children has been decreased from 40 to 26%. Regardless of this progress, according to World Bank 702 million people still live in extreme poverty. According to last year report on the state of food insecurity in the world (SOFI), 793 million people are undernourished.

Moreover, due to chronic and gradual climate risk, sea-level will rise as a result of climate change, that could affect the livelihood in coastal areas and river deltas. Climate change affects all proportions of food security and nutrition such as food availability, food access, food utilization and food stability.

Water scarcity leads to Food insecurity

“Global Warming is not a prediction, it is happening”

Climate change is a global phenomenon, but their impacts are more pronounced in South Asia during the past few decades, which challenges food security in this region.

Thus, Pakistan facing frequent climate change induced annual drought and floods. Once, Pakistan known a water surplus country and now a water deficient country. The rain fall is neither sufficient, nor regular, to meet the growing needs of water. Yet we are wasting water on daily bases.

The surface water resources in Pakistan mainly the Indus River and its tributaries, which bring is about 138 million acre feet of water annually. The Indus River alone provide 65% of the total river flows.

The flow during the Kharif is 84% and during Rabi season is 16% in Pakistan.

Pakistan always face food shortage due to water scarcity and 47% population is food insecure. The production of food is greatly dependent on irrigation. So, Pakistan required new strategies to enhance water use efficiency, maintain and improve the quality and sustainability of resources base at Basin and water shed level. Pakistan need to invest soon in increasing rain water harvesting by increasing storage capacity of water.

Long term strategies may include the construction of large storage dams, better flood and drought forecasting mechanisms and resolving water distribution problems in all over Pakistan.

Short term strategies to save water are careful use of water in our daily use, campaigns and advocacy to ensure lesser water wastage, people in urban areas are wasting a lot of water in car wash, street cleaning, and other recreational activities these need to stop. Because water we waste in urban areas are causing a lot of trouble for the people in rural areas and causing damage to our agriculture. We are killing the rights of the people who are now deprived of the water because of our wastage of water.

The Great Meltdown

The whole world is currently suffering through a phenomenon known as “Climate Change” which is bound to have some disastrous effects.  Pakistan is just another victim of this crisis. Climate change is a change in global or regional climate pattern, attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

Pakistan has been one of the most affected countries vulnerable to climate change. It is ranked on 7th position, with a death toll of 523.1 lives per year and economic losses worth US $3.8 billion.

If we take a closer look at Pakistan and its climate change, we can clearly deduce that the country is at high risk, thus, steps need to be taken in order to cope with this problem. Pakistan suffers from heavy monsoon rainfalls every year which has severely affected the lives and livelihoods of people. Not only this, the floods caused by these rainfalls affected the agriculture sector which has compromised the GDP targets as well. Other than this, the heat waves and the cold waves have also posed a threat to the people. Additionally, the Himalayan glaciers are melting at a high rate due to global warming which is making the sea level rise.

In my opinion, drastic measures need to take in order to reduce the threat of this climate change in Pakistan. Pakistan should think of reducing its emissions, which can help to reduce the risk of extreme weather events in the country.  Moreover, population control is another way to combat climate change as overpopulation contributes to the depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation. Higher population requires more resources to get processed and disposed of in the environment in the form of pollution. Researchers across the globe have found that slower population growth has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Therefore, Pakistan needs to work on these issues because Climate Change has undoubtedly become a reality that has caused a lot of suffering.