By 2050, Karachi the modern metropolis will be covered in a massive heatwave that will claim the lives of the millions who reside in the bordered sea city.
Karachi is facing a climate ticking time bomb where the climatic conditions are changing by the hour. The melting of glaciers at a rapid street in the northern mountains and the increasing population of the country are some of the serious indicators that global warming has taken it’s effect on Pakistan. Moreover, the biggest indicator was the summer floods that displaced millions of Pakistani’s and the heatwave experienced over Sindh that took the lives of 1200 people.
Numerous studies have suggested that there will be a great water shortage by 2050, as the population will keep on increasing and there will be a considerate decrease in water supply especially in the large river basins such as the Indus. Karachi will have to manage a lot of people demanding a lot of water which will be less in suppply.
“In the long term, it is a huge challenge,” says Syed Mashkoor ul-Hasnain of the Karachi Water Company.
The three gigantic mountains of Pakistan namely, the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush intersect together into the Indus river which facilitates the irrigation system of almost all of Pakistan. The Indus river flows in great speed from central Punjab to the south when it finally enters the mouth of the Arabian Sea in Karachi.
Javed Akhtar, a local villager who as been hired by a team of glaciologists to analyze and predict the climate changes. Javed stated, “When we would come here 25 years ago, the glacier reached that rock up there, the area which is 500 meters from the top of the ice.”
UN predicts that the population will reach to be 300 million people by 2050 and the Passu glacier which Javed mentioned will melt extensively.
Since the past century, the temperature in northern Pakistan has increased by 1.9 degree Celsius. Experts have pinpointed that this has led to a situation termed as “glof” which stands for glacial lake outburst floods. The phenomena is triggered when the dams of lakes rupture and send down huge streams of water down the slops. It has been reported that there are thirty glacial lakes which are under observation in Pakistan.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated “projected to accelerate throughout the 21st century, reducing water availability, hydropower potential, and changing seasonality of flows in regions supplied by meltwater from major mountain ranges.”
Pakistan is known for it’s lush green plains and farm lands that cause it to be a great agriculture country. However, despite the many benefits Pakistan has in terms of agriculture, it still lacks in self-sufficiency as unpredicted floods have caused to destroy most of it’s farms and food produce. The floods are a mixture of monsoon rain and the melting glaciers of the mountains that cause it to become even more catastrophic.
“When there is too much water it’s not good for rice, and when there is not enough, that’s also bad. And it’s the same for wheat,” says farmer Mohsin Ameen Chattha.
Ghulam Rasul, the director general of Pakistan’s meteorological department states that even after the excess/surplus monsoon rain is stored in the two large reservoirs, the Tarbela and the Mangla dams, the water is not enough. “That is not sufficient. It will hardly last 30 days. For now, the production of rice and wheat is still rising. But if the glaciers were to one day disappear, we would be totally dependent on the monsoon. And already it varies. All this has an impact on food security,” states Rasul.
Rasul has further predicted that there will be a great increase in temperatures over the Arabian Sea which will cause a deadly heatwave similar to the June, 2015 one or might be even worser one to hover over