Climate change raises temperature in Sindh within 3 decades

KARACHI: Climate change has raised temperature in Sindh province during the last 31 years that affects its agriculture productivity and socio-economic conditions, says a new research report on “Gender and Social Vulnerability to Climate Change”, conducted by Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi.

According to the report, average temperature in Badin, Thatta, and Dadu have raised during the last 31 years. In Badin district, mean maximum temperature during three decades showed an increasing trend. The rate of increase remained 0.029 degrees centigrade per year. The mean minimum temperature also showed an increasing trend, with the increasing rate of 0.028 degrees centigrade. However, there was decreasing trend of rainfalls during the past 31 years.

In Dadu district, the mean maximum temperature over the past 31 years decreased at the rate of 0.024 degrees centigrade per year. This was only decrease in maximum temperature observed in any of the four districts. However, the mean minimum temperature increased at the rate of 0.036 degrees centigrade per year. This increase was highest among the four districts. The rainfall in this district showed increasing trend during this period, which was 1.449 mm per year.

In Tharparkar district, the mean maximum temperature showed a slightly increasing trend during the past three decades. The rate of change was 0.010 degrees centigrade per year. The research analysis showed that rainfall in the district has increased over the past 31 years at the rate of 0.686 mm per year.

The mean maximum temperature in Tharparker district showed a slightly increasing trend during the past three decades. The rate of change was 0.010 degrees centigrade per year. The mean minimum temperature increased at the rate of 0.029 degrees centigrade. The research analysis showed that rainfall in the district has increased over the past 31 years at the rate of 0.686 mm per year.

The wind in the district during the past era would blow from all four directions, but it now blows from one side only, which shows climate change. The rains occur now from the sea. These rains contain salt that affects the soil fertility and cause water-logging. When there is a lot of sea rain, the water becomes bitter and the land loses it strength as a result, less crops grow on it.

Farmers in irrigated fresh water, irrigated saline and agro-pastoral communities reported a significant reduction in agriculture productivity. Some of the farmers have even given up growing certain crops and vegetables due to climate change implication.

In village Hashim Mangrio, Thatta, local farmers said that they can no longer grow chillies because of water shortages. “In the past, if rice was 60 to 70 mds per acre, now it only gives 40 to 50 mds per acres.

A resident from Tharparkar said; “We also grew Bajra and because of the drought we have no more bajra crops now. Now we are just getting 4 mds per acre but in the old days we had 40 mds per acre.

In Badin, there was 1000 to 1500 mds sugarcane per acre in the past, but now it is only 500 mds per acre. Cotton has decreased from 40-50 mds per acre to 20-25 mds per acre. Rice from 50-60 mds per acre to 30 mds per acre.

Sindh has been vulnerable to climate change, as it was the most affected province during the 2010 floods, where large areas remain prone to high water stress, salinity, desertification, drought, floods and cyclones.

Twenty years ago, people of Manchhar Lake in district Dadu were living peacefully on boats and their complete household and economic activities were on these boats. But the condition has now changed as sewerage of drains is discharged into the lake. This has badly affected the income of the local people, who have now shifted to inside lake area. Their fishing productivity has declined to very low level, and they have even sold their boats, and started other labour works.

The road infrastructure in four districts – Badin, Thatta, Dadu, and Tharparker- was found to be in dismal state. Roads in Dadu and Badin district have deteriorated after the 2010 and 2011 floods caused by climate change.

In Tharparkar, June 15 was the time when the rains would always come. Now it is unpredictable. There is more heat and increase in temperature. June and July were the summer months, but now there are longer periods of heat. In the past in April and May, there was no heat.

In Thatta district, rains would come in June and July, but now they come in September and October. Now rainfall occur in some areas, but it does not occur in other areas of the district. In the last 10-20 years, winds are stronger. This has brought the sea to become closer to local residents.

While climate change affects both rich and poor countries, the severity of impact is more intensified for the poor countries, and Pakistan is also hit it. There is need to take result-oriented actions to mitigate climate change affects for the good of socio-economic activities.