'Climate change in Pakistan turning extreme'
Data presented at a seminar on climate change in Pakistan highlighted trends where this South Asian country, which stretches from high, snow-capped mountains to a deltaic coast, could be in for a sharp rise in average temperatures and extremely erratic weather.
The seminar, held last month (29 December), analysed data in a new report produced by top non-government organisations, LEAD-Pakistan and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan, with funding from the European Union.
Data gleaned from 56 meteorological stations showed heat waves increasing from 1980 to 2009, a period marked by glacier retreats, steadily rising average temperature in the Indus delta and changes in temperature behaviour in summer and winter.
The report, titled Climate Change in Pakistan, forecast low agricultural productivity from lack of water for irrigation and erratic rainfall. Conditions in the fertile Indus delta, already facing saline water intrusion and coastal erosion, are expected to deteriorate further.
Ghulam Rasul, chief meteorologist at the Pakistan Meteorological Department and author of the report, told SciDev.Net that although Pakistan's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is low, it is among countries highly vulnerable to climate change.
Pakistan's largely agrarian economy, Rasul noted, is mainly fed by the Hindu Kush-Karakoram and Himalayan glaciers that are reported receding due to global warming. "Pakistan's climate-sensitive agrarian economy now faces larger risks from variability in monsoon rains, floods and extended droughts.
Article continues at ENN affiliate, Science and Development Network
Pakistan Flood image via Shutterstock