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Afghanistan Climate Change and Disaster Risk

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Afghanistan Climate Change

Climate Background of Afghanistan

At the intersection of the Central, West, and South Asian areas, Afghanistan is a landlocked country.

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The Hindu Kush, a significant mountain range covering much of Afghanistan’s terrain and with peaks as high as 7,000 meters Large swaths of arid steppe and a sizable desert zone can be found at lower altitudes in the southwest plateau.

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These drier parts of the country support biodiverse ecosystems and distinctive landscapes while having little vegetation. Communities in Afghanistan are diverse in terms of race and culture, and they are typically less urbanized.

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Afghanistan’s population is among the world’s most impoverished as a result of protracted fighting and political unrest, with a national poverty rate reaching 50% in 2017. The population also has particularly serious challenges with undernourishment.

Afghanistan’s 2016 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) acknowledges the nation’s vulnerability. The report emphasizes both the nation’s very small contribution to the causes of climate change and the considerable lack of financial resources available to adapt to the various threats caused by human-induced climate change that have already started to materialize.

The commitment of Afghanistan to improve its capacity for adaptation in the vital fields of agriculture, human health, energy, and infrastructure, as well as to raise public knowledge of climate change, is emphasized in the country’s Second National Communication (NC2) to the UNFCCC.

Afghanistan’s Meteorology

Afghanistan has a dry continental climate with significant seasonal variation in both temperature and precipitation. Altitude also has a significant impact on temperature, with mountainous regions regularly seeing temperatures well below zero while southern dry regions frequently experiencing temperatures over 35 °C.

Afghanistan Climate Change
Afghanistan Climate Change

The amount of precipitation varies greatly depending on terrain, with the northeastern mountain range often receiving more than 1,000 mm and the southwesterly dry region typically receiving less than 150 mm.

The El Nio Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole are two major climate phenomena that have a complex intra-annual connection with the conditions in Afghanistan. The latter is connected to Afghanistan’s current drought.

Climate Change and Vulnerability

Based on the interaction of climate-related hazards (including dangerous events and trends), vulnerability of communities (susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to adapt), and exposure of human and environmental systems, the overall risks from climate-related impacts are assessed.

Hazards, exposure, and susceptibility are influenced by changes in the climatic system as well as socioeconomic processes, including adaptation and mitigation measures.

Afghanistan Climate Change and Coastal Risk

Global mean sea level is directly rising as a result of the planet’s systematic warming in two main ways

  • melting mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets are adding water to the ocean
  • as the oceans warm, the water expands, adding to the volume. Since 1880, the average sea level has increased by roughly 210–240 millimeters (mm), with the last two and a half decades accounting for almost a third of that increase.

Currently, there is an annual rise of about 3mm. Natural fluctuations in local winds and ocean currents, which can last for days, months, or even decades, are to blame for regional variances.

Locally, however, other causes may also be significant, including ground uplift (such as the continuous recovery from Ice Age glacier weight), subsidence, changes in water levels brought on by water management practices or water extraction, and even the results of local erosive processes.

Sea level rise puts stress on coastal ecosystems as well as the actual coastline. Freshwater aquifers, many of which support municipal and agricultural water sources as well as natural ecosystems, can get contaminated by saltwater incursions. Because there is a significant lag until an equilibrium is reached, sea level will keep rising as long as global temperatures continue to rise.

The rate of future carbon dioxide emissions and global warming will have a significant impact on the volume of the rise, and future glacier and ice sheet melting rates may have an increasing impact on the rate of the rise.

by examining historical sea surface temperatures, historical (satellite-measured) sea level anomalies, and projected future sea level rise, researchers can better understand how the seas are changing (model-based).

The European Space Agency’s Sea Level Climate Change Initiative created the sea surface temperature and sea level anomaly data, which is provided with a 0.25 x 0.25 degree resolution. Data on sea level rise, which has a 1 x 1 degree resolution, was extracted from the CMIP5 collection.


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