Multivariate Aspects of Climate Change in Pakistan
File Photo: Floods in interior Balochistan killed 13 people recently: File photo

Multivariate Aspects of Climate Change in Pakistan

Syed Mansoor Ahmed 

Climate change steams unbeatable challenges in the future. According to the World Bank report, Pakistan stands 6th in affectee of climate change. The awful and deadly floods of 2010, and 2011, extremely dry weather in a rainy area, and fluctuation in actual climate pattern is alarming and despairing signs among all the dwellers of the town.

Climate Change and Agriculture in Pakistan

In addition, Pakistan is a semi-arid country. The focal and dependent source of water is from the snow-covered Himalayan and the Karakorum in the Northern Areas. Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and the Sutlej rivers flow through this area. Within the water calculus, the country’s entire agriculture is dependant on water flow from the Indus river.

Glacial flood outburst also poses a serious threat to the country’s climate in the Karakorum range. The sole aim was reaching and understanding the possible nodes of surge-type glaciers, which are characterized by unsteady movements and frequent frontal advances of glaciers. As result, it causes natural hazards by obstructing river channels, forming ice-dammed lakes, which will ultimately cause GLOFs and pose threats downstream of the water. After meaningful analysis, it revealed that a surge between 1998 and 2002 generated 6 GLOFs.

Damages by Climate Change:

Meanwhile, rigorous critical exploration of the Attabad Lake of Hunza Valley in Gilgit-Baltistan is the distinctive event to justify the future threats of climate change in the center of freshwater. The lake flooding displaced more than 6,000 people from upstream villages and inundated over 19 kilometers of the Karakorum Highway.

Recently, global warming and subsequent climate change have increased the constant state of fear and the risk of missive outburst flooding in the respective mountainous region. The comprehensive field evidence, local testimonies by the natives, modern applications of remote sensing, and cross-correlation feature-tracking techniques provides the improved understanding of glacier surges and ice-dam formation disclosed the scale future threat.

Glaciers in Pakistan:

It is also noted, historically, in the Karakorum Range 39 glaciers are responsible for ice-dam formation. On the other hand, 36 glaciers build ice barriers in the running rivers due to frontal advance, near to the densely populated areas of the Karakorum region. By constant observation of the prevailing and growing threat of climate change, it is airing the endless future threat only due to the GLOFs. For instance, the Indus River System (IRS) is the jugular vein of irrigation in Pakistan. It is providing water for almost 90% of the food product in Pakistan. The ice-dam formation due to the GLOFs will slow down the water flowing pace downstream. And could raise a deep impasse among the units for water distribution formula. In the end, it will ultimately surface the challenge of food insecurity in Pakistan.

The Karakorum Range, more importantly, is the home of the anticipating One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR) by giving with a potential corridor through the Karakorum Highway from Khunjerab to the seaport at Gawadar in Balochistan (CPEC) on the Indian Ocean. Therefore, the smooth running of the traffic on the roads is the keynote for progressive economic development. While the ice barriers in rivers due to frontal advance could inundate the blacktops of the Karakorum Highway. The dislocation and dissolution of roads will give birth to never-ending challenges due to the factor of GLOFs.

In the same run, these lakes and GLOFs attracted media, political, and scientific attention because of the repeated outburst of floods. So, it needs the heart blood as well as collective effective efforts to bring down the scale of the future threat without causing infinite miseries.

The writer is a Public Policy Analyst and Lecturer at BUET, Khuzdar.
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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.