G L c:i'B:A l"P,;'Cq}! c v \J o HUMt


Global \Varming and Its impact on Pakistan Imran Naseer, University of the Punjab, Lahore.


What is Global WarmiJ!.g?

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of earth's surface due to use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) and certain industrial and agricultural processes leading to increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Since 1896 it has been known that these gases reduce the escape of earth's infrared radiation into space arid keep the earth relatively warm. This is called green house effect Since the late 1850 the average global temperature has increased about 0.5 to 0.9 degree Celsius and 2~% percent rise in C02 level. Most scientists relate this increase in temperature to the increase of C02 Many experts estimate that by 2100 the average temperature will rise from 3 to 8 additional Fahrenheit degree (1.5 to 4.5 Celsius degree). This rate of increase is much faster than the past. Scientists disagree about the importance of various causes and potential impacts of the warming trends. Most climatologists believe that human activities have contributed to the trend of enhancing the natural green house effect. This warms the surface of earth through a complex process involving the sunlight, gases and particles in the atmosphere.

What are green house gases?

. 1. Water vapor (H20): Water vapors are the most important green house gas. Water vapor is more efficient than C02 in capturing radiant' energy, because it not only can absorb energy, but can store it as well. Without water vapor, there would be no clouds or rainfalL

2. Carbon clioxi.de( C02):

C02 is the most important green house gas released by human activities mostly through burning of fossil fuels, (coal, natural gas, etc.).

3. Methane (CH4):

Methane is produced when vc ctation is burned, digested or rotted in the absence of oxygen. Garbage dumps, rice paddies and grazing cows and other live stock release lots of methane.

4. Ozone (03):

The rare type of oxygen (02) molecule composed of three atoms (03) instead of two (02). This is mainly found in Q2Q~ii! faver, which cX1L:11t.ls between 15 to 50 km (9 to 31 miles) above the earth. But besides t};CTi"1 many other gases which cause ill incrc .. isernent of the C02 in the atmosphere.



Jncreasing C02 Levels in the Atmosphere

t ,

In the centuries before global industrialization, carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere was at a level slightly less than

300 parts per million (ppm), or about 3/100ths of a percent by volume. During the last hundred years or so, that amount has been substantially increased by fossil fuel burning. When fuels like coal, oil, or natural gas are burned, they yield water vapor

and carbon dioxide. The increase of C02 since 1940 follows a pattern known as exponential growth. .

iii 700
(I)' 600
-i:. 500
~ 400
4 350
~ 300 2% per yr

4% per yr

250 1860 80 1900 20 40 60 80 2000 20 40

(Figure.1 increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, observed until 1990 and predicted into the twenty-first century).

Not all the carbon dioxide emitted into the air by fossil fuel burning remains there. Instead, a complex cycle moves C02 throughout the life layer. Photosynthesis is one part of this carbon cycle. Plants use C02 in photosynthesis, the process by which they use light energy to build their tissues. So, plants take in carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere, When plants die, their remains are digested by decomposing organisms, which release C02. This process returns C02 to the atmosphere. Normally, these processes are in balance. Humans have titled this balance by clearing land and buming the vegetation cover as new areas of forests an; opened J o!' development. This practice increases the amount of C02 in the air.


I %e Impact ojqfo6a[Wanning'in Pa~istan I

Global Warming affects many aspects of the environment, including sea levels, agriculture, forestry, and wild life. For example people could have farms in regions where it is currently too cold rise, increasing the threat of flooding in low-lying

coastal regions. '.'

1. Changes in Temperature:

In recent time, the global temperature increased due to increasement of C02 in the atmosphere and the earth has received more incoming radiation in the form of short wave. When the earth's landmass and the oceans absorb short-wave radiation form the sun, it is transformed into long-wave radiation. When the heated surface emits long-wave radiation, one oftwo things can happen to this radiation, either the atmosphere absorbs it, or it escapes into the space.

r Space
i i f
f i f i
Earth's Surface (Figure.2 Long-wave radiation emitted by the earth and atmosphere.)

The atmosphere is mostly heated by long-wave radiation it absorbed. This radiation is absorbed at the lower denser levels of the atmosphere, a fact that helps account for the air's higher temperature near the earth's surface. Thus, the temperature is increased and the same situation in Pakistan and the land of Pakistan is also heated, So, the people activities decreased.

2. Temperature and Glaciers:

In the last hundred years, the global temperature increased about 1 degree Celsius. But in the end of July, the temperature increased about 2 degree in the Mountainous North, which extends across the northern part of Pakistan and the Mountainous North can be divided into the following ranges:

1. The Karakoram Range:

2. The Hindu Kush and other Ranges:

3. The Kohistan, Swat and Dir Ranges:

4. The Himalayan Ranges.

Those areas where temperature Increased.






3. Floods and Temperature:

When temperature increases in the northern mountainous areas of Pakistan then Glaciers begins to melt. This melt water increases in the river especially in Kabul River and it becomes the cause of floods.


..-----lliver I

4. Pakistan - Longest drought on record, 1999-2Q01:'

Temperature affected the many areas of Pakistan by which those areas have changed into desertification: The prolonged three-year drought, which covers much of South West Asia, has affected 2.2 million people and 16 million livestock in Pakistan.





tt<4 DIA

Nara and Cholistan deserts are the subparts of Thar desert and Thar desert has receive more insolation or incoming shortwave radiation and here the humidity has less in day but in the night, it increases. But over all, moisture is very few there from which, Thar Desert is expending and the agricultural land is decreasing.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful