Climate Change in Bangladesh: Impacts, Vulnerability, and Risks

Climate Change in Bangladesh: Impacts, Vulnerability, and Risks

The study focuses on the examination of climate variability and change in Bangladesh, specifically exploring the impacts, vulnerability, and risks associated with these phenomena.

The Earth’s climate is currently experiencing substantial alterations, primarily attributed to anthropogenic activities that have resulted in the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is anticipated that these aforementioned alterations will persist in the forthcoming decades, leading to amplified climate fluctuations and heightened occurrences of severe weather phenomena, including floods, droughts, and tropical storms. Furthermore, it is expected that there will be an increase in average temperatures and sea levels. Bangladesh, with its distinctive geographical characteristics, high population density, pervasive poverty, and a major dependency on climate-sensitive industries like agriculture and fisheries, is particularly vulnerable to these climate change impacts.

The Effects on Vulnerable Populations: Women and children in Bangladesh are among the demographic groups that experience the most significant impacts of climate change. Women frequently bear the responsibility of managing home tasks, such as acquiring water and food, and thus experience a greater degree of vulnerability to the negative consequences of climate-related hazards. Climate-induced disasters can have adverse effects on the education, health, and overall well-being of children. The objective of this study is to shed light on the distinct obstacles encountered by these susceptible populations within the framework of climate change.

Historical Vulnerability: Bangladesh has exhibited a longstanding susceptibility to climate fluctuation owing to its geographical characteristics and positioning, which encompass the impact of monsoon and regional flow patterns. The monsoon season is characterized by a significant increase in precipitation, which has the potential to impact multiple industries, livelihoods, and food security. According to projections, it is anticipated that there would be an 11% increase in monsoon rainfall by the year 2030, and a further 27% increase by the year 2070. Additionally, there is expected to be a general rise in surface average temperatures, with an estimated increase of 1.3°C by 2030 and 2.6°C by 2070. The aforementioned modifications bear consequences for flooding, as it is observed that 18% of now existing low-lying regions are prone to experiencing elevated levels of flooding, while 12 to 16% of newly affected areas face the possibility of being submerged.

Challenges Faced During the Dry Season: Bangladesh encounters a decrease in precipitation and a rise in temperatures during the transition from the post-monsoon to pre-monsoon period. Consequently, this climatic shift results in reduced river flows and the encroachment of saline in coastal river systems. The confluence of these elements leads to an elevation in evapotranspiration rates, hence exerting a detrimental impact on the growth of crops. According to projections, it is anticipated that the dry season would experience a significant decline in precipitation due to climate change. This drop in rainfall is expected to lead to elevated levels of salinity, which may have the potential to make the cultivation of specific crops economically unviable.

The implications for the Sundarbans and its biodiversity are of significant academic interest. The potential consequences of diminished river flows on the forest succession dynamics within the Sundarbans region are expected to manifest in a decline in forest productivity and a reduction in vegetative coverage. Consequently, the great biodiversity of the region is placed at risk.

The presence of elevated salinity levels in surface and groundwater sources in the southwestern region of Bangladesh is currently exerting a significant impact on human health. The phenomenon of climate change is anticipated to result in an increase in temperature, which in turn is projected to create a more favorable environment for pests and pathogens. Consequently, this poses an escalated threat to human health. The destruction of sanitation infrastructure caused by recurrent floods, coupled with the potential impact of intensified cyclones, poses significant challenges in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within the context of climate change.

According to projections, it is anticipated that the coastal regions of Bangladesh will experience a rise in sea level of around 88 cm by the year 2100. The potential consequences of this phenomenon include the submergence of a significant portion of coastal regions situated at lower elevations and lacking protective embankments, as well as the subsequent rise in saline levels along the affected coastlines. The paucity of freshwater resources is expected to become more prominent, while there will also be alterations in land use suitability, particularly in relation to agricultural practices.

In summary, the water resources and hydrology of Bangladesh exhibit a significant degree of sensitivity to the prevailing climate variability, encompassing both temporal and spatial aspects. Climate variability currently presents substantial vulnerabilities. The vulnerabilities mentioned are expected to escalate under the context of climate change, resulting in a heightened occurrence of floods, droughts, and salinity intrusion with greater intensity and frequency. The implementation of adaptation strategies is of utmost importance in order to alleviate the aforementioned impacts, particularly in the southwest region. This area is expected to experience significant repercussions such as increased salinity levels, obstruction of rivers, water saturation, breaches in embankments, cyclonic storm surges, and erosion of riverbanks. These consequences will have profound effects on agricultural practices as well as the availability of potable water, thereby affecting both the human population and the surrounding ecosystem. The task at hand is of considerable magnitude, and the imperative for expeditious intervention is of utmost importance.




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