Climate Change and Bangladesh: Background


Those of us living in Bangladesh must have surely noticed that in the past 10 years or so, Summer in Bangladesh have become hotter.

Monsoons arrive, yet we experience no rainfall. This leaves the lands barren and dry, adversely affecting soil quality. No rainfall often leads to drought like conditions that adversely affect agriculture and food production.

Then there are these sudden burst of heavy rainfall over short periods that leave the area inundated and water logged. While life in cities become miserable in waterlogged conditions, people in the cities experience lost habitats through landslides and floods. Increased river flow and inundation during monsoon also lead to river erosion and loss of habitats and agricultural lands.

Although Winters continue for a shorter period of time, the cold spell is more intense and the temperature in 2012 even dropped down to as low as three degree centigrade. The figure recorded was unusual for a country located in the tropical zone.

Salinity intrusion along the coast makes the soil conditions inappropriate for farming, it also creates potable water crisis. Salinity intrusion affects marine life in such a way that fish and other aquatic organisms find it difficult to survive, depleting our fish stocks which is one of the major sources of protein.

Apart from all that discussed earlier, Climate change impacts add significant tension in forms of river bank erosion, deaths due to extreme weather conditions, increasing mortality, morbidity, prevalence and outbreak of dengue, malaria and water borne diseases.

Climate Change affects our physical and environmental resources, our human capacity and economic activities. Sectors such as water & coastal resources, agriculture, health, livelihoods, food security and habitat/settlement are trembles.

Getting into the Scientific Details of the Climate Change Impacts in Bangladesh:

According to IPCC in their Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC, 2007), the following changes have been observed in climate trends, variability and extreme events:

  • Average temperature has registered an increasing trend of about 10C in May and 0.50C in November during the 14 year period from 1985-1998.
  • The annual mean rainfall exhibits trends in Bangladesh. Decadal rain anomalies are above long term average since 1960s.
  • Serious and recurring floods have taken place during 2002, 2003, and 2004. Cyclones originating from the Bay of Bengal have been noted to decrease since 1970 but the intensity has increased.
  • Frequency of monsoon depressions and cyclones formation in Bay of Bengal has decreased.
  • Water shortages has been attributed to rapid urbanization and industrialization, population growth, and inefficient water use, which are aggravated by changing climate and its adverse impacts on demand, supply and water quality.
  • Salt water from the Bay of Bengal is reported to have penetrated 100 km or more inland along tributary channels during the dry season.
  • The precipitation decline and droughts has resulted in the drying up of wetlands and severe degradation of eco-system.


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