Extreme Weather Pummels Asia by Naseem Sheikh SignUp
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Environment Share This Page
Extreme Weather Pummels Asia
by Dr. Naseem Sheikh Bookmark and Share

Climatic changes are actually happening and Earth is heating up, the glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising.  Yet, with the scarcity of water, there is less food to grow in South Asia which is the most vulnerable region of the world as its population is growing far too quickly. For Pakistan, the bad news is that the River Indus is 30 to 40 per cent dependent on the Himalayan glaciers which are receding fast.
 
It's not only Pakistan that has experienced record-breaking extreme weather events recently, in the last couple months extreme weather has struck around the world with startling ferocity. In addition to this the monsoon downpours were some of the heaviest seen in recent years. Flooding in Indonesia, Drought in South and north Korea, land sliding due to heavy rain in Bangladesh, Shifts in glacial melt and rain fall are threatening crops, water scarcity in Pakistan are matters of great concern.
 
Monsoon pattern are mainly disturbed severely by the global climate change.  It should not be called a ‘monsoon season’ as the precipitation has been 50% below normal all over Pakistan. Normally as much as 80 percent of South Asia’s rain falls during the June to September.  But till end of July dry weather has been observed all over Pakistan. This shortage of rain is further causing negative impact on food commodities as food items short fall resultant inflation.

The monsoon is brought by large-scale wind patterns that transport heat between the northern and southern hemispheres. The reduction in seasonal rainfall in South Asia over the past 50 years may be a result of tiny chemicals emitted into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels, according to U.S. scientists. In monsoon season seasonal winds fluctuate widely and scientists have been developing new models that may help farmers prepare for water-supply disruptions and mitigate loss of life and property. Record monsoons last year caused floods in Pakistan that displaced almost 20 million people and caused more than $9 billion in damage.

According to the WFP, nearly half of Pakistan’s (180 million) people are at risk of going short of food due to a recent surge in world food prices. In India, New Delhi, already battling to contain double-digit food inflation, now faces further price increases due to food shortages for its 1.2 billion people, some 42 percent of whom live in poverty. This further is a key chain reaction in the form of disease induction.
 
Giving poor people proper access to safe water and sanitation would save 2.5 million people a year from dying from diarrhea and other diseases spread by a lack of hygiene, according to charity water Aid.
 
India has been drying out for over half a century, and air pollution thousands of kilometers away is partly to blame. The Thar "Golden" Desert receives the lowest rainfall in the country and has largely saline groundwater at levels 100m below the surface.

Recent flood in India, Bangladesh and Japan threatens the rice crop; many countries' soya crop is also affected by rain shortage. Salinity affects some 60 percent of coastal farming lands, the United Nations estimates. In recent decades, rising sea levels in the have encroached on vast tracts of low-lying arable lands, making them too salty for some rice varieties to grow and diminishing crop yields.
 
On the other side severe flooding across North Korea has killed 88 people and left tens of thousands homeless, state media reported late on Saturday, threatening to make the poverty-stricken country's already chronic food shortage still worse.
  

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31-Jul-2012
More by :  Dr. Naseem Sheikh
 
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