Future Heatwaves in Pakistan under IPCC’s AR5 climate change scenario (PB-46)

Future Heatwaves in Pakistan under IPCC’s AR5 climate change scenario (PB-46)

Publication details

  • Monday | 23 Nov, 2015
  • Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Fahad Saeed
  • Policy Briefs/Papers
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Fahad Saeed, Abid Qaiyum Suleri 
 
Introduction
 
Heatwaves occupy an important class of climate-related disasters with a history of causing large scale mortalities. Most of the people do not realize how deadly a heatwave can be because in contrast to the visible and destructive nature of floods, heatwaves are regarded as "silent killers". With all its fury anddestruction, the heatwaves in France in 2003 resulted in 15,000 death (Poumad`ere et al. 2005). At a time when Pakistan was facing the worst flooding of its history in 2010, a heatwave in Moscow caused the death of 11,000 people (Shaposhnikov et al. 2014). Very recently, another deadliest heatwave caused around 2,300 casualties in India and a few weeks later, Pakistan had to face this havoc, which claimed 1,200 human lives.
 
The recent heatwaves in India and Pakistan can be attributed to climate change (Khan 2014). Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its series of assessment reports, has been continuously warning about an increase in duration, intensity and magnitude of future heatwaves due to global warming (IPCC 2013). Since IPCC does not do its own research, its findings are based on the published literature, generally in impact factor journals. The technique, which is mostly adopted in such studies, is largely based on climate modeling.
 
Today climate models or more specifically the Global Climate Models (GCMs) are considered to be the most sophisticated numerical tools to carry out global climate simulations. However, the resolution of these GCMs is coarse and is typically of the order of 250 km. Hence, many regional-scale climatic features go beyond the scope of ESMs. Therefore, it led to the development of regional climate modeling technique in order to downscale the coarse GCMs to the regional scale at a typical resolution of 10 to 50km. These models are named Regional Climate Models (RCMs) (Saeed et al. 2009).
 
In a recently published study in 2015, the authors used the data of seven GCMs and claimed it to be the "first projection of future heatwaves in India" (Murari et al. 2015). In the present study, we have gone one step further while using the data of three RCMs (having much higher resolution than GCMs) to present a first projection of future heatwaves in Pakistan. This paper is structured as follows: section 2 provides the details of 'Data and Methodology' followed by 'Results' section. Section 4 presents the critical analysis of "2015 heatwave in Pakistan" followed by the ‘Recommendation’ section at the end.