Examining the impacts of future land use/land cover changes on climate in Punjab province, Pakistan: implications for environmental sustainability and economic growth

Abstract

Land use and land cover changes (LULCC) significantly affect the climate at regional and global levels through different biogeophysical and biogeochemical processes. However, the effects of biogeophysical aspects of LULCC on climate have been often ignored, which may overestimate the biogeochemical effects on climate change. Thus, understanding the biogeophysical influence of land use changes on climate change in future potential scenarios is crucial. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the mechanism and land use change impacts on future climate under different scenarios through changes in underlying surface and surface energy balance. In order to fill this research gap, three simulations are performed by Weather Research Forecasting (WRF) model for the year 2010–2030 under Business-As-Usual (BAU) scenario, Rapid Economic Growth (REG) scenario, and Coordinated Environmental Sustainability (CES) scenario to evaluate the influence of future LULCC on temperature projections for the Punjab province in Pakistan. Results show that land use conversions under three scenarios induce overall climate cooling in the region. The decrease in annual average temperature in CES scenario (− 0.02 °C) is slightly greater than that in BAU and REG scenarios (− 0.01 °C). The responses of temperature to future LULCC vary in different months in all scenarios, with greater responses in warmer months, causing climate cooling. In each scenario, the response of temperature is found to be sensitive to different land transitions. The findings of the study can be a reference for policy makers, researchers, and development practitioners in their pursuit to understand the effects of land use change on climate.

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Acknowledgments

Valuable comments on the earlier draft of this manuscript by Dr. Mujtaba Hassan had been very useful and are duly acknowledged. The comments and suggestions of anonymous reviewers have been well-raised and helped improve the overall quality of the manuscript, for which, we are highly obliged and acknowledge their input. 

Funding

The first author highly acknowledges the financial support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences under CAS-TWAS fellowship. In addition, the support from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad during this study is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Azhar Abbas.

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Samie, A., Abbas, A., Azeem, M.M. et al. Examining the impacts of future land use/land cover changes on climate in Punjab province, Pakistan: implications for environmental sustainability and economic growth. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 25415–25433 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08984-x

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Keywords

  • Sustainable
  • Turbulent energy fluxes
  • Migration
  • Policy
  • Biogeophysical parameters
  • Landscape