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Challenges of Climate change of Bangladesh

The climate of Bangladesh is influenced by monsoon climate and characterized by high temperature, heavy rainfall, often-excessive humidity and marked seasonal variations. Although more than half the area is north of the Tropics, the effect of the Himalayan mountain chain is such as to make the climate more or less tropical throughout the year. The climate is controlled primarily by summer and winter winds, and partly by pre-monsoon (March to May) and post-monsoon (late October to November) circulation. The Southwest Monsoon originates over the Indian Ocean, and carries warm, moist and unstable air. The easterly Trade Winds are also warm, but relatively drier. The Northeast Monsoon comes from the Siberian Desert, retaining most of its pristine cold, and blows over the country, usually in gusts, during dry winter months.
Bangladesh is already vulnerable to many gradual change phenomena of climate change as well as climate change related extreme events. Studies and assessments on impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation to climate change and sea level rise for Bangladesh clearly demonstrate that Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. Rainfall is predicted to become higher and more erratic. Frequency and intensity of natural disasters are likely to increase especially in the northern and western part of the country. Several early evidences of the above phenomenon and its associated impacts in the agriculture, health, water and sanitation, biodiversity are already visible in Bangladesh.

Overall impacts of climate change on Bangladesh would be significant. It is estimated that climate change could affect more than 70 million people of Bangladesh due to its geographic location, low elevation, high population density, poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and high dependency on natural resources. Population living in the coastal area is more vulnerable than the population in other areas. Coastal resources upon which the most people depend are likely to be affected severally due to climate variability and change. It is predicted that for 45 cm rise of sea level may inundate 10-15% of the land by the year 2050 resulting over 35 million climate refuges from the coastal districts. Ultimately adverse impacts have the potential to undermine poverty reduction efforts and could compromise the Millennium Development Goals, such as the eradication of poverty and hunger by 2015.

It is also revealed from the studies and assessments that the context of vulnerabilities and associated impacts vary by spatial, temporal scale and socio-economic condition of communities, resulting in need for different adaptation measures and actions. Coastal area of the country is prone to salinity intrusion and tropical cyclone; floodplains in the central areas are prone to flood; north-western region of the country is prone to drought; north eastern part of the country is prone to flash flood; and hilly region of the country is prone to erosion and landslide. Water resources and agriculture are reported to be most impacted sectors due to climate change. IPCC estimates that by 2050, rice and wheat production in Bangladesh could decline by 8% and 32% respectively (against base year 1990).

Recognition of adverse impacts of climate change on economic development, life and livelihoods of the poor and ultimately impeding Millennium Development Goals has pushed urgent need for adaptation to deal with unavoidable impacts of climate stimuli including variability and extreme events in Bangladesh. According to a recent estimate by World Bank, the adaptation cost for Bangladesh by 2050 to offset the added inundation may run as high as US$5.7 billion. In order to better prepare the country for such eventualities of climate change, the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of Bangladesh has prepared Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan in 2009.