Climate Change and Pakistan


Generally, when we use the term climate then most people merge it with the weather, but these are two terms and different. Firstly, we will take an overview of the climate and the weather. So,


The state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time as regards heat, cloudiness, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc. it is short-term conditions.”


Long-term conditions of the weather of a particular area is known as the climate. Different regions have different weather as well as climate conditions.”

Climate can be divided into three further types,

  1. Arid
  2. Semi-arid
  3. Tropical

But here the question is what is climate change?

Climate Change

Climate change refers to significant, long-term changes in the global climate.

The global climate is the connected system of sun, earth and oceans, wind, rain and snow, forests, deserts and savannas, and everything people do, too. The climate of a place, say, New York, can be described as its rainfall, changing temperatures during the year, and so on. Climate change includes both the global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.


Pakistan occupies a land area of over 880,000 square kilometers and forms part of the South Asian subcontinent. It is bordered by India on the east, China on the northeast, and Iran and Afghanistan on the west. The country has a diverse topography that includes permafrost and alpine regions, temperate, topical, and sub-tropical ecosystems, and coastal areas. Pakistan’s diversity extends to its climatic, socioeconomic, and environmental characteristics, which differ significantly from region to region. The country has four provinces, the Punjab, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Sindh, Baluchistan, and two federally administrated territories: The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Northern Areas. In addition, the territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), is under the administration of the Government of Pakistan. Each province or territory is further divided into administrative units known as districts. Pakistan’s coastline with the Arabian Sea stretches to over 990 km. It consists of two distinct units in terms of physiographic outline and geological characteristics. The coastal and offshore geology of Pakistan tectonically exhibits both active and passive features.

Climate and Climate Change in Pakistan

Pakistan mostly has an arid climate but some regions have a cold climate at high altitudes. Pakistan enjoys a considerable measure of variety. The north and north-western high mountain ranges are extremely cold in winter while the summer months from April to September are very pleasant. The vast plains of the Indus Valley are extremely hot in summer and have cold weather in winter. The coastal strip in the south has a temperate climate. There is a general deficiency in rainfall. In the plains, the annual average rainfall ranges from 13 cm in the northern parts of the lower Indus plains to 89 cm in the Himalayan region. Rains are monsoonal in origin and fall late in summer. The average rainfall is 76 cm per annum. Pakistan has four kinds of seasons, which are as follows,

  1. Winter
  2. Autumn
  3. Summer
  4. Spring

Pakistan’s climate is a continental type of climate, characterized by extreme variations in temperature, both seasonally and daily, because it is located on a great landmass north of the Tropic of Cancer (between latitudes 25° and 36° N). large area containing dry climate conditions. These are the seasons that are expanding and decreasing due to climate change in Pakistan. Well-renowned international institutions like the EPA IUCN and many others institutions recognized Pakistan as a climate change-affected country.  We should be careful about environmental circumstances and crises.

Effects of Climate Change on Pakistan

Pakistan’s Climate Change has wide-range effects on the environment and people in Pakistan. As a result of ongoing climate change, the climate of Pakistan has become increasingly volatile over the past several decades; this trend is expected to continue. In addition to increased heat, drought, and extreme weather conditions in some parts of the country, the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas threatens many of the most important rivers of Pakistan. Between 1999 and 2018, Pakistan was ranked the 5th worst affected country in terms of extreme climate caused by climate change.

Pakistan has very little contribution to climate change about less than 1% but it is affected by it too much. According to the world bank research, Pakistan is the most affected country in the world by the climate change. Pakistan is 5th number in the world that is most affected by climate change.  It is very vulnerable to climate change, also it has the high effects of climate change. Pakistan has a lot of the effects of climate change we can categorize these as follows,

  • Temperature increase
  • Ice-caps
  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Natural disasters
  • Rainfall pattern
  • Sea level
  • Water scarcity
  • Diseases
  • Deforestation

Now we will describe these effects one by one in detail. Their description will tell us about the conditions of the environment and their relations with climate change.

Temperature Increase

The annual increase in temperature in Pakistan is 0.57°C. it is observed from 1901 to 2000. This can be increased in the next decades if we ignore everything that is causing climate change. it also affects the rainfall patterns in the region. The major cause of the disasters and the increase in central Pakistan is a 3-5% decrease in cloud cover is said to have an increase in sunshine hours and a recorded increase in mean temperature of 0.9°C.


It is the geographic location of Pakistan that it has the world’s largest ice-caps after the earth ice poles in the north and the south. According to the recent report by the IPCC, climate change in the region escalating the melting rate of the glaciers. It is also a major cause of disasters in Pakistan like floods. Unfortunately, Pakistan haven’t the storage sites for the water so this is increasing the sea level. As well there is a danger of the loss of the icecap’s biodiversity and migrating species in Pakistan.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) for the Asia region noted that agriculture is very sensitive to climate change and we know that Pakistan is an agriculture-based country. Climate change has fetal effects on agriculture. Like the agricultural lands turning into deserts, there are the following effects observed related to agriculture.

  • Crop patterns

The changing climate is changing the crop pattern and the irrigation pattern in Pakistan. Like the crops shifting their seasons.

  • Pests growth

More temperature is suitable for the growth of pests which increases the vulnerability of the crops and reduction in the yields

  • Reduced yields

Climate change is one of the major causes of the reduction of the yields.


Pakistan is rich in biodiversity, particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions which cover almost 80% of the total land area. Several animal and plant species are threatened and/or endangered largely due to over-exploitation, and loss of natural habitat due to climate effect. Pakistan’s wide variety of ecosystems and habitats range from the Arabian Sea in the south to the second-highest peak in the world, K-2, in the north, all hosting a broad diversity of species. Four of these ecosystems are considered some of the most biologically outstanding ecoregions in the world. A large number of the species migrated to Pakistan in various seasons due to weather changes, but now it is reducing due to climate change in Pakistan. One of the best examples is the species in the Arabian Sea and northern areas.

Natural Disasters

We have observed in the last decades that number of the natural disasters has increased in Pakistan and all over the world as well. It is just due to the climate change. we can include the following things in it.

  • Floods
  • Hurricanes
  • Heavy rain falls
  • Monsoons reduction
  • Change in
  • Thunders storms etc.

There are various examples of the floods like the floods of the Indus River, Pakistan’s floods in 2010.

Rainfall Pattern

Due to the increase in the temperature in Pakistan, the rainfall patterns changed. The seasonal rainfalls decreased and now these are shifting towards the adverse results. On the other hand, at few extant the rainfall increased and caused floods and disasters. The extreme weather conditions in Pakistan prevailing gradually. The patterns of rainfall change concerning the areas. An increasing trend in the rainfall over the Upper Indus Basin and a decreasing trend in the Lower Indus Basin. In the hyper-arid plains, arid coastal areas, and mountain regions of Pakistan, an increase of 0.6°C–1.0°C in the mean temperature was recorded, with a decrease in summer and winter rainfall of 10-15% in the coastal belt and arid plains. An 18-32% increase in monsoon rainfall was recorded for sub-humid areas.

Sea Level

Sea level rise (SLR) along the Karachi coast is estimated at 1.1 mm per year (mm/year) from 1856 to 2000 according to the National Institute of Oceanography, Pakistan. This change in sea level is thought to be due to two major processes, the thermal expansion of the oceans and the melting of glacier mass. It is difficult to predict SLR for the entire region of Pakistan since data is limited at the country level. While IPCC estimates predict a global mean SLR of 0.2–0.6 m by 2100, a rise of 0.7 m is predicted for the region of South Asia (which includes the Pakistan coast). This SLR will most likely affect low-lying coastal areas south of Karachi toward Keti Bander and the Indus River delta more than other regions of Pakistan. Degradation of mangrove forests, declining drinking water quality, and decrease in fish and shrimp productivity in those regions will be the impacts of the rise in sea level, which is due to climate change

Water Crises

UNDP(United Nations Development Program) recognizes Pakistan as a water-scarce country, basically in the freshwater. Concern has been growing in recent years regarding the potential impact of climate change on Pakistan’s already stressed water resources. Rising temperatures, increasing saltwater intrusion in coastal areas, a growing threat of glacier lake outburst floods, more intense rainfall, and changes in monsoon and winter rainfall patterns are just some of how climate change is expected to affect Pakistan’s hydrologic resources. These risks amplify an already problematic situation given that Pakistan is among the most water-stressed countries in the world. Per capita access to surface and groundwater sources is expected to continue to decline in the decades ahead, driven largely by rapid population growth and urbanization. Of particular concern is the potential for climate change to affect water flows within the Indus Basin. The majority of Pakistan’s water is provided through the Indus River and its tributaries, which are fed primarily by snow and ice melt in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram- Himalaya mountains. Any change in water flow in the Indus Basin will have significant implications for food security in Pakistan given that 90 percent of total agricultural production occurs on arable land supported by the Indus Basin Irrigation System (Qureshi, 2011).


Climate change is converting the forests into barren lands. The deforestation rate in Pakistan is 2nd highest in Asia. Pakistan has less than 4% forest which is reducing due to climate change and other activities. Climate change, degrade the soil and weaken the plants and trees as well so, these are causing soil erosion and deforestation. Pakistan’s forests decreasing rapidly, which is not indicating the sustainability of the environment. Also, economic crises can arise due to climate change and the forest


The number of diseases increased in Pakistan. The major disease that mostly occurs due to climate change and ozone depletion is cancer. A lot of other diseases but cancer is the major disease caused by climate change.

Economic Relation

Some extant economic crises are also related to the environment and climate change but we did not discuss these because economists do not consider the impact of climate change on the economy directly, but indirectly we study it in the environmental economy. So, now conclude.


we can reduce the climate change or stop it by the following practices,

  • people awareness
  • 3R
  • Modernization of the agriculture
  • Increasing the literacy
  • More plantation
  • Sustainability programs
  • Self-analysis of the environment
  • Water conservation
  • Reduction of carbon emissions
  • Using the public transport
  • Etc.


we can conclude that climate and the weather are two different terms and have different meanings. Climate change is the change in a global environment and it impacts daily life as well the other things like, temp, ice-caps, sea level, biodiversity, diseases, deforestation, water crises, and a lot of other things. Even it affects the people and their pattern of living. To some extent, we can include the economic crises in it but not as the major cause yet. Nowadays it is a hot topic at the national and international levels. So, we should take care, actions, and promote awareness about climate change to stop it or reduce it as we can.

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Musawar Hussain

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