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«DIPLOMA THESIS Linking Climate Change with Food Security in the highlands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northwest Pakistan Presented by: Martin Kienzler ...»

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In between a period with unfavorable climatic conditions characterised the region. These variations in ring width grow “basically reflect temperature variations” (Esper, 2000).

In the same region Treydte et al. (2006) used tree rings from different sites, near the upper timberline as well as near the lower timberline, to reconstruct precipitation variations over the last millennium. The result was a distinct increase of precipitation during the late 19th and the 20th centuries “coincident with the onset of industrialization and global warming”. Warming is supposed to lead to “increases in the moisture-holding capacity of the atmosphere at a rate of about 7%K −1, altering the hydrological cyle and characteristics of precipitation events including their amount, frequency, intensity and duration“ (Treydte et al., 2006).

Nevertheless Afzaal & Haroon (2009) examined if there is a warming trend in the area-weighted annual mean temperature of Pakistan in the period 1901-2007 by using spectral analysis of timeseries, which were merged from CRU (Climate Research Unit) timeseries and PMD (Pakistan Meteorological Department) observed datasets. They postulated that there is a statistically significant warming trend from the beginning of the time series and the mean temperature of Pakistan “has been rising at the rate of 0.06◦ C per decade and the total change in temperature has been 0.64◦ C over the period” (Afzaal & Haroon, 2009). Though the rising of the temperature did not occur constantly: Between 1907 and 1945 it was rising at the rate 0.2◦ C per decade, while it dropped at the rate 0.03◦ C per decade up to 1993 and was rising again at the rate 0.53◦ C per decade until 2007, revealing an acceleration of temperature change in recent years. (figure 2.3) Similar results obtained Chaudhry et al. (2009): They postulate a total warming in Pakistan of 0.57◦ C in the period 1901-2000. The course of temperatures follows global changes quite well (compare figure 2.1 and 2.3), the only difference is a strong warming period between 1938 and 1948 (see figure 2.3, too) and high variability between 1970 and 1998 without distinct warming trend. But after 1998 there is a sharp increase.

Chapter 2. Climate change and food security in South Asia - State of research

Figure 2.3 – Area-weighted mean annual temperatures over Pakistan 1901-2007. Source:

Afzaal & Haroon (2009) The comparison of CRU and PMD datasets show a correlation of 0.9 for the period 1960-2000. Furthermore they compared temperature trends of the particular regions of Pakistan. The strongest warming occurred in Balochistan (+1.15 ± 0.25 ◦ C, significant at 95% level) while in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa temperature rise was least (+0.15 ± 0.24 ◦ C, non-significant) between 1960 and 2007. Chaudhry et al. (2009) also claim different developments of maximum and minimum temperatures. For example the mean maximum temperatures did rise in all provinces of Pakistan for the period mentioned above, the strongest warming trend occurring in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (+1.1 ± 0.29 ◦ C and +0.96 ± 0.31 ◦ C respectively, both significant at 99% level). Regarding minimum temperatures there is a strong contrast between the northern and southern part of the country: While southern Pakistan shows a strong warming trend (Balochistan: +0.99 ± 0.22 ◦ C, significant at 99% level), the northern and northwestern parts

tend to experience a distinct decline of minimum temperatures (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa:

-0.35 ± 0.24 ◦ C, unsignificant). This means that for the mountainous regions of Northern Pakistan Diurnal Temperature Range is increasing. The northern parts of the country also besides a distinct cooling trend during summer months while in the southern half there is a warming trend throughout the year, though it remains stronger in winter in most regions. An important climate feature is the number of heat wave days, which shows a strong increasing trend throughout Pakistan but is highest in the northern parts of Balochistan and the northwestern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the differences reaches up to 60 days compared to 1980. On the other hand in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa the number and frequency of cold wave days is increasing, too. These results could mean a lot more climatic stress for agricultural crops.

The annual precipitation amount of Pakistan rather showed a declining trend in the first half of the 20th century. In the second half there was only a very slight positive trend but high annual and decadal variability. Annual rainfall of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was constantly varying around the mean until 1953, while precipitation increased clearly

Chapter 2. Climate change and food security in South Asia - State of research

between 1966 and 2007 (+75 mm in this period). Between 1953 and 1966 there was a period with precipitation amounts of up to twice the normal values. While summer rainfall remained more or less the same during the 20th century, winter precipitation is supposed to increase by 6.6 mm per decade on average. (Chaudhry et al., 2009) Similarly Fowler & Archer (2006) analysed temperature trends of seven climate

stations throughout mountainous northern Pakistan, two of which are located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for the second half of the 20th century. Different results were found:





Consistent to global trends, they found increasing trends of winter mean and maximum temperatures in the range of +0.05 to +0.55◦ C per decade. In contrast the situation during summer months looks different: Mean temperatures and especially minimum (night) temperatures are decreasing clearly, partly at high rates (-0.05 to -1.1◦ C per decade).

These findings conform to the results of the study of Chaudhry et al. (2009). In opposition to global trends there has been a significant increase of diurnal temperature range (DTR), at least in summer. The less distinct cooling of summer maximum temperatures could be explained through increased monsoon precipitation and a coincident increase in daytime cloud cover. The negative trend of minimum temperatures only may be explained through increased nighttime cloud cover or through the impacts of deforestation (Yadav et al., 2004). A cooling of summer temperatures comes along with a reduction of up to 20% in runoff of the major rivers. Furthermore reduced summer temperatures combined with more winter precipitation could explain the observed thickening of some Karakoram glaciers, which forms a strong contrast to glacier melting in the eastern Himalaya (Fowler & Archer, 2006; Hewitt, 2005).

Ahmad et al. (2009) investigated the development of January temperature over Pakistan in the period 1961 to 2006. They also used observed data from the PMD stations network and did statistical analyzing. The result was a slightly cooling trend over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at a rate of -0,15◦ C per decade, while the other regions of Pakistan suffered a statistically significant rise of January temperatures.

Because “Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change as its economy is heavily reliant on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture and forestry”, Farooqi et al. (2005) evaluated first the observed climatic changes over Pakistan in the period 1951-2000 by analyzing MAGIC and RegCM2 data (GCMs and RCMs output). The result is a warming trend (up to +1,5◦ C) in the northern mountain areas and a cooling trend (-2,0◦ C - 0◦ C) in the monsoon belt. In both regions they observed a positive trend of precipitation amount.

The different studies presented in this section show quite different results concerning the characteristics of climate change in Pakistan. This illustrates that it is particularly difficult to assess climate change in a sensitive and meteorological underrepresented region like Pakistan.

2.2.3 Future projections of climate Chaudhry et al. (2009) additionally tried to draw climate projections for the first half of the 21st century. Using three different IPCC scenarios, A2, A1B and B1 (Nakicenovic & Coauthors, 2000) they claim the following results: Mean temperature

Chapter 2. Climate change and food security in South Asia - State of research

change for all of Pakistan varies between +0.24◦ C (B1) and +0.51◦ C (A2) between 2011 and 2050. The lower parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Northern Areas hereby are expected to suffer the strongest warming of +0.63◦ C and +0.76◦ C respectively for the scenario A2. In contrast the upper parts of KP rather tend to a cooling of -0.34◦ C in scenario A1B and hardly to a warming trend for scenario A2 (+0.01◦ C).

Farooqi et al. (2005) also tried to estimate the future changes for the next half of the 21st century using GCMs output (SCHENGEN model). They postulated an incline of annual precipitation (+5-10 %) and a warming trend (+1,0-1,5◦ C) over northwest Pakistan. Concerning Agriculture, Farooqi et al. (2005) claim that “as a result, the food security of many countries in the region would be under threat.” “The greatest challenge that would face agriculture as a result of climate change” are changes not in mean temperatures but in the “frequency and intensity of temperature extreme events”. Therefore ul Islam et al. (2009) examined the development of warm and cold spells over Pakistan, using regional climate model simulations of Hadley Center’s PRECIS for the period 2071-2100 compared to the period 1961-1990. They claim that in general the positive trend of minimum temperatures will be higher than the change in maximum temperatures throughout the country. For KP maximum temperatures are supposed to increase in the range of 4.5-5.5◦ C, while minimum temperatures in the mountainous regions even suffer an increase of up to 6◦ C. Furthermore it seems that the amount of projected warm spells over Pakistan are increasing slightly, while cold spells show a distinct decreasing trend. This reflects the fact that the warming trend in winter generally is much higher than during the summer months. Higher winter temperatures could reduce cold stress and the risk of damaging winter thaws but otherwise will “reduce the amount of protective snow cover” (ul Islam et al., 2009). On the other hand the increased frequency of extremely hot days means more damage to agricultural crops.

Regarding future precipitation amounts, there will be a strong contrast between the lower and upper parts of KP, too: While the lower KP shows a decreasing trend for all scenarios (-3.5, -1.78 and -2.98 mm per decade for B1, A1B and A2), rainfall amounts are supposed to increase strongly in the upper parts (scenario A1B: +3.8 mm per decade, scenario A2: +6.1 mm per decade). For all of Pakistan scenarios A1B and A2 expect increasing precipitation amounts (+1.26 and +1.73 mm per decade), but for scenario B1 negative trends are projected (-0.89 mm per decade) (Chaudhry et al., 2009).

2.3 Impacts of climate change on food security in mountainous regions “Mountain ecosystems are more sensitive to climate change because of their fragile nature and high ecological variability and diversity” (Hussain, 2003). Similarly the livelihoods of mountainous regions are especially vulnerable to climatic changes because of “Upland crop production (..) can be highly sensitive to variations in climate” Beniston et al.

(1996). Furthermore “in sensitive ecoregions such as glacial regions, changes in temperature are more likely to be governed by local dynamics than by regional or global trends” (Singh et al., 2011)

Chapter 2. Climate change and food security in South Asia - State of research

Many studies in different regions of the world reveal that rising temperatures in the course of global warming are supposed to lead to increasing crop yields in mountain regions. So climate change should be rather beneficial for mountain agriculture, at least as long as moisture is not the limiting factor. On the other hand, the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme events like heavy rains are likely to “offset any potential benefits” (Beniston et al., 1996).

Rasul (2010) studied the general situation of food security in South Asia and the role of the high mountain systems, which are the “major source of dry season water for irrigated rice and wheat in (..) Pakistan”, rice and wheat being the “staple food” in South Asia. Rasul (2010) claimed that Pakistan’s food production now “has failed to keep pace with high population growth” after it has achieved “near self-sufficiency in food during the 1980s”.

As a result of increasing water shortage (through increasing demand and climate change) farmers “are adapting by moving from surface water to groundwater irrigation”, forcing groundwater levels to fall by 1-3 metres per year (Rasul, 2010). Because of global warming cereal production in South Asia could decrease by 18,2 - 22,1 % until 2080 (von Braun, 2007). Rasul (2010) suggests to address the food stress by improving water management and water use efficiency (e.g. by storing monsoon rainwater in reservoirs, etc.) or by using the potential of mountain areas (e.g. by expansion of rainfed and horticultural crops).

2.3.1 Impacts of climate change on agriculture in selected mountain regions Like the northwestern part of Pakistan, Nepal is a mainly mountainous country with strongly rugged terrain, extreme climate conditions and weak accessibility. Therefore climate change as well may have serious implications. The reaction of different major crops on a temperature rise of 4◦ C in plain, hill and mountain regions of Nepal was analysed by Malla (2008): Yields of rice, wheat and maize all are supposed to increase by 36%, 33% and 27% respectively in mountain regions, while the production of these crops is decreasing to some extent in plain regions. Therefore a general warming “will be more favorable to agriculture in the hills and mountains” (Malla, 2008).

Thomas et al. (2007) studied the perception of local farming communities concerning precipitation variability in the highlands of northeastern South Africa. Climate data was analyzed through daily precipitation data of the last fifty years. Furthermore they combined qualitative and quantitative research attempts to detect how the local population recognizes changes in precipitation and in which way they respond to these changes.

They claim that farmers approve climate changes as significant among other factors and already try to adapt through short-term coping.



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