Temperature likely to increase at 0.4C per decade in Punjab, Sindh
LAHORE: Temperatures are likely to increase at 0.4C per decade in agricultural plains of Punjab and Sindh which will ultimately increase water requirement for crops and heat wave conditions may retard crop growth and development.
This was revealed in a recent study carried out by Pakistan Metrological Department, which further revealed that temperature in agricultural plains has increased over the last 60 years and the increase in recent two decades was higher than the previous trend while the rate of increase of night temperatures is greater that the increase noticed in day temperatures.
Following this research, a meeting of stakeholders was held under the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change for Comparison of Agriculture and Climate Models for Pakistan to discuss future planning. The meeting was attended by a large number of participants including Nisar A Memon, Chairman Water Environment Forum (WEF) Pakistan, Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Climate Expert and DG MET Mir Yusuf Badain, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change chaired the meeting.
The Met officials said the department provided baseline climatic characteristics and future projections of temperature and precipitation on district scale to the researchers. Agricultural and economic models were tested by research teams of UAF for different cropping systems in Pakistan.
Dr Ashfaq Ahmad said the research findings of PMD indicated that temperature in agricultural plains has risen over the last 60 years and the increase in recent two decades was higher than the previous trend. Also the rate of increase of night temperatures is greater than the increase noticed in day temperatures.
Other agricultural experts identified that the increase in minimum temperature is responsible for decline in rice yield because it reverses the grain production process. Similarly, the untimely rains have significantly impacted the crop production especially rains at the time of harvesting and threshing caused pre-and post harvest losses, they revealed. Abnormally wet weather conditions at critical stages of crop growth and development promoted the growth of insects and pest which reduced the quantity and quality of yield, the research revealed adding future projections indicate that there will be no significant change in rainfall amount but its temporal and spatial distribution will be highly influenced due to climate change. It means that untimely rains may threaten the crop production in future increasing losses at maturity stage.
High temperatures coupled with abnormally wet summer climatic conditions in cotton zone may help pathogens to grow which may hamper the crop yield. The research says in the absence of adaptation measures, the anticipated losses and uncertainty in crop production will be magnified many times over the prevailing scenarios.
The main findings of the research identified that there would be increase in mean max. temperature of 2.5 °C & 3.6 °C and mean min. temperature 2.7 °C & 3.8 °C under 4.5 °C and 8.5 °C RCPs, respectively for mid-century (2040-2069).
It further said decrease in rainfall would be about 33 & 52 pc during cotton growing season and 36 & 42 pc during wheat growing season respectively for mid-century (2040-2069) for hot dry conditions. It added that reduction in cotton yield by 42pc and wheat yield 4.5pc for mid-century (2040-2069) may occur while reduction in Cotton yield of about 47pc and wheat yield 2 pc in cotton-wheat cropping system for mid-century (2040-2069) may occur.
The research experts suggested several adaptation packages as for wheat they said heat and drought tolerant cultivars should be developed, wheat should be sown 10 days earlier for those farmers whose sow their crop after 20 November, plant population should be increased by 10pc and urea fertilizer should be applied with irrigation water. For cotton crop, the research suggested that heat and drought tolerant cultivars should be developed, balanced used of fertilizer should be applied and row spacing should be increase from 75 cm to 85 cm.
Sahibzad Khan, Director Met, Lahore said: “Climate change is a very serious issue and we have to take immediate measures to mitigate its impacts”.