Friday, January 20, 2012

The cost of climate change in Pakistan

Anish Alavi in Dawn (Pakistan): Pakistan, Guatemala and Russia have been the countries worst hit by climate change in the recent past, with thousands of lives lost to extreme weather events. In addition to being the worst-affected, the poor developing countries hit by climate change have had the least amount of responsibility towards causing these catastrophes. While earth’s climate has been evolving continuously over the last millennium, the last two centuries have seen unprecedented threats to climate change.

Located in the sub-tropics and partially in temperate regions, Pakistan’s southern tip hits the Arabian Sea and at its northern end are the Great Himalayas. Climatologically, most parts of Pakistan are arid to semi-arid with significant spatial and temporal variability in climatic parameters. Fifty nine per cent of the annual rainfall which occurs in the country is due to the monsoon rains.

The northern region is dominated by the mountains where climate is ranging from humid to arid. Below the north, tropical continental climate prevails. The Greater Himalayan region receives winter precipitation mostly in the form of snow and ice, and the melting snow keeps the rivers flowing through out the year.

The coastal climate of Pakistan is restrained to a narrow strip along the coast in the south and south east. However, as large numbers of residents dwell in low coastal areas or near the river delta where sea level rise and flooding are frequent, Pakistan has to suffer a great loss every year.

...Meanwhile, Professor Imran Ahmed highlighted water-related issues being faced worldwide. “In Bangladesh,” he said “the harvesting season is usually hit by droughts and by the time the season is over, monsoon rains begin, which affects the agriculture sector.”...

Kund Malir beach in Balochistan, Pakistan, shot by Bilal Mirza, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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