Skip to main content
Log in

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

Environmental Science and Pollution Research Aims and scope Submit manuscript

    We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

    Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Cite this article


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10


  • Abbas A, Amjath-Babu TS, Kächele H, Usman M, Müller K (2016) An overview of flood mitigation strategy and research support in South Asia: implications for sustainable flood risk management. Dev World Ecol 23:98–111

  • Alexander LV, Zhang X, Peterson TC, Caesar J, Gleason B, Klein Tank AMG, Haylock M, Collins D, Trewin B, Rahimzadeh F, Tagipour A, Rupa Kumar K, Revadekar J, Griffiths G, Vincent L, Stephenson DB, Burn J, Aguilar E, Brunet M, Taylor M, New M, Zhai P, Rusticucci M, Vazquez-Aguirre JL (2006) Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature and precipitation. J Geophys Res Atmos 111:1–22

  • Alexandru A, Sushama L (2016) Impact of land-use and land-cover changes on CRCM5 climate projections over North America for the twenty-first century. Clim Dyn 47:1197–1209

  • Ali A, Erenstein O (2017) Assessing farmer use of climate change adaptation practices and impacts on food security and poverty in Pakistan. Clim Risk Manag 16:183–194

  • Ali G, Nitivattananon V (2012) Exercising multidisciplinary approach to assess interrelationship between energy use, carbon emission and land use change in a metropolitan city of Pakistan. Renew Sust Energ Rev 16:775–786

  • Ali S, Liu Y, Ishaq M, Shah T, Ilyas A, Din IU (2017) Climate change and its impact on the yield of major food crops: evidence from Pakistan. Foods. 6(6):39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Anderson RG, Canadell JG, Randerson JT, Jackson RB, Hungate BA, Baldocchi DD, Ban-Weiss GA, Bonan GB, Caldeira K, Cao L, Diffenbaugh NS, Gurney KR, Kueppers LM, Law BE, Luyssaert S, O'Halloran TL (2011) Biophysical considerations in forestry for climate protection. Front Ecol Environt 9:174−182

  • Bala G, Caldeira K, Wickett M, Phillips TJ, Lobell DB, Delire C, Mirin A (2007) Combined climate and carbon-cycle effects of large-scale deforestation. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:6550–6555

  • Betts, Richard A (2001) Biogeophysical impacts of land use on present-day climate: near-surface temperature change and radiative forcing. Atmos Sci Lett 2:39–51

  • Brovkin V, Claussen M, Driesschaert E, Fichefet T, Kicklighter D, Loutre MF, Matthews HD, Ramankutty N, Schaeffer M, Sokolov A (2006) Biogeophysical effects of historical land cover changes simulated by six Earth system models of intermediate complexity. Clim Dyn 26:587–600

  • Brovkin V, Claussen M, Petoukhov V, Ganopolski A (1998) On the stability of the atmosphere-vegetation system in the Sahara/Sahel region. J Geophys Res-Atmos 103:31613–31624

  • Burki SJ (2012) Punjab’s economic importance.

  • Butt A, Shabbir R, Ahmad SS et al (2015) Land cover classification and change detection analysis of rawal watershed using remote sensing data. J Biodivers Environ Sci 6:236–248

  • Challa VS, Indracanti J, Rabarison MK, Patrick C, Baham JM, Young J, Hughes R, Hardy MG, Swanier SJ, Yerramilli A (2009) A simulation study of mesoscale coastal circulations in Mississippi Gulf coast. Atmos Res 91:9–25

  • Deng X, Guneralp B, Zhan J et al (2014) Land use impacts on climate. Springer, London

  • Deng X, Qo J, Zhan J et al (2010) Simulation on the dynamics of forest area changes in Northeast China. J Geogr Sci 20:495–509

  • Deng X, Su H, Zhan J (2008) Integration of multiple data sources to simulate the dynamics of land systems. Sensors (Basel) 8:620–634

  • Dong N, Liu Z, Luo M et al (2019) The effects of anthropogenic land use changes on climate in China driven by global socioeconomic and emission scenarios. Earth’s Future 7:784–804

  • Dowall D, Ellis P. (2007) Urban land and housing markets in the Punjab, Pakistan. Berkeley:.

  • Ek MB, Mitchell KE, Lin Y et al (2003) Implementation of Noah land surface model advances in the National Centers for Environmental Prediction operational mesoscale Eta model. J Geophys Res Atmos 108:n/a-n/a

  • Ezber Y, Lutfi Sen O, Kindap T, Karaca M (2007) Climatic effects of urbanization in Istanbul: a statistical and modeling analysis. Int J Climatol 27:667–679

  • Feddema JJ, Oleson KW, Bonan GB, Mearns LO, Buja LE, Meehl GA, Washington WM (2005) The importance of land-cover change in simulating future climates. Science 310:1674–1678

  • Food and Agriculture Organization (2009) Asia-Pacific forestry sector outlook study II: Pakistan forestry outlook study.

  • Gettelman A, Morrison H, Ghan SJ (2008) A new two-moment bulk Stratiform cloud microphysics scheme in the Community Atmosphere Model, version 3 (CAM3). Part II: Single-column and global results. J Clim 21:3660–3679

  • Gibbard S, Caldeira K, Bala G et al (2005) Climate effects of global land cover change. Geophys Res Lett 32:n/a-n/a

  • Government of Punjab(1999) Punjab forestry sector, forest policy statement, (forests, watershed, rangelands and wildlife). 3 March, Lahore.

  • Government of the Punjab (2015) Punjab growth strategy 2018: accelerating economic growth and improving social outcomes. 31 March.

  • Hasan S, Deng X, Li Z, Chen D (2017) Projections of future land use in Bangladesh under the background of baseline, ecological protection and economic development. Sustainability 9:505

  • Hassan Z, Shabbir R, Ahmad SS, Malik AH, Aziz N, Butt A, Erum S (2016) Dynamics of land use and land cover change (LULCC) using geospatial techniques: a case study of Islamabad Pakistan. SpringerPlus 5:812

  • Hijmans RJ, Cameron SE, Parra JL, Jones PG, Jarvis A (2005) Very high resolution interpolated climate surfaces for global land areas. Int J Climatol 25:1965–1978

  • Hijmans RJ, Graham CH (2006) The ability of climate envelope models to predict the effect of climate change on species distributions. Glob Chang Biol 12:2272–2281

  • Hong S-Y, Noh Y, Dudhia J (2006) A new vertical diffusion package with an explicit treatment of entrainment processes. Mon Weather Rev 134:2318–2341

  • Hurtt GC, Chini LP, Frolking S, Betts RA, Feddema J, Fischer G, Fisk JP, Hibbard K, Houghton RA, Janetos A, Jones CD, Kindermann G, Kinoshita T, Klein Goldewijk K, Riahi K, Shevliakova E, Smith S, Stehfest E, Thomson A, Thornton P, van Vuuren DP, Wang YP (2011) Harmonization of land-use scenarios for the period 1500–2100: 600 years of global gridded annual land-use transitions, wood harvest, and resulting secondary lands. Clim Chang 109:117–161

  • Hussain A, Rasul G, Mahapatra B, Tuladhar S (2016) Household food security in the face of climate change in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region. Food Sec 8(5):921–937

  • Immerzeel WW, Beek LPH, Bierkens MFP (2010) Climate change will affect the Asian water towers. Sci 328:1382–1385

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • IPCC (2019) Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems. In press

  • Jianjun HE, Ye YU, Na L et al (2014) Impact of land surface information on WRF’S performance in complex terrain area. Chin J Atmos Sci 38:484–498

  • Jin J, Miller NL, Schlegel N (2010) Sensitivity study of four land surface schemes in the WRF model. Adv Meteorol 2010:11

  • Lawrence DM, Hurtt GC, Arneth A, Brovkin V, Calvin KV, Jones AD, Jones CD, Lawrence PJ, de Noblet-Ducoudré N, Pongratz J, Seneviratne SI, Shevliakova E (2016) The Land Use Model Intercomparison Project (LUMIP) contribution to CMIP6: rationale and experimental design. Geosci Model Dev 9:2973–2998

  • Lin S, Feng J, Wang J, Hu Y (2016) Modeling the contribution of long-term urbanization to temperature increase in three extensive urban agglomerations in China. J Geophys Res Atmos 121:1683–1697

  • Ma E, Deng X, Zhang Q, Liu A (2014) Spatial variation of surface energy fluxes due to land use changes across China. Energies 7:2194–2206

  • Mahmood R, Pielke RA Sr, Hubbard KG, Niyogi D, Dirmeyer PA, McAlpine C, Carleton AM, Hale R, Gameda S, Beltrán-Przekurat A, Baker B, McNider R, Legates DR, Shepherd M, du J, Blanken PD, Frauenfeld OW, Nair US, Fall S (2014) Land cover changes and their biogeophysical effects on climate. Int J Climatol 34:929–953

  • Marland G, Pielke RA, Apps M et al (2003) The climatic impacts of land surface change and carbon management, and the implications for climate-change mitigation policy. Clim Pol 3:149–157

  • Nadeem O, Hameed R, Basheer A et al (2015) Impact of land use change on climate: a case study of Gulberg scheme, Lahore, Pakistan. J Fac Eng Technol 22:111–121

  • Najmuddin O, Deng X, Siqi J (2017) Scenario analysis of land use change in Kabul River Basin – a river basin with rapid socio-economic changes in Afghanistan. Phys Chem Earth ABC 101:121–136

  • NCEP FNL (2000)Operational Model Global Tropospheric Analyses, continuing from July 1999. Boulder, CO: Research data archive at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Computational and Information Systems Laboratory

  • Niu X, Tang J, Wang S, Fu C (2019) Impact of future land use and land cover change on temperature projections over East Asia. Clim Dyn 52:6475–6490

  • Noblet-Ducoudré N, Boisier J-P, Pitman A et al (2012) Determining robust impacts of land-use-induced land cover changes on surface climate over North America and Eurasia: results from the first set of LUCID experiments. J Clim 25:3261–3281

  • Paeth H, Born K, Girmes R, Podzun R, Jacob D (2009) Regional climate change in tropical and northern Africa due to greenhouse forcing and land use changes. J Clim 22:114–132

  • Pathirana A, Denekew HB, Veerbeek W, Zevenbergen C, Banda AT (2014) Impact of urban growth-driven landuse change on microclimate and extreme precipitation—a sensitivity study. Atmos Res 138:59–72

  • Peng SS, Piao S, Zeng Z, Ciais P, Zhou L, Li LZX, Myneni RB, Yin Y, Zeng H (2014) Afforestation in China cools local land surface temperature. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:2915–2919

  • Peterson AT, Ortega-Huerta MA, Bartley J, Sánchez-Cordero V, Soberón J, Buddemeier RH, Stockwell DRB (2002) Future projections for Mexican faunas under global climate change scenarios. Nature 416:626–629

  • Pielke RA, Marland G, Betts RA et al (2002) The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system: relevance to climate-change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases. Philos Trans R Soc London Ser A 360:1705–1719

  • Powers JG (2007) Numerical prediction of an Antarctic severe wind event with the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Mon Weather Rev 135:3134–3157

  • Qu R, Cui X, Yan H et al (2013) Impacts of land cover change on the near-surface temperature in the North China Plain. Adv Meteorol 2013:12

  • Rafiq L, Blaschke T (2012) Disaster risk and vulnerability in Pakistan at a district level. Geomat Nat Hazards Risk 3(4):324–341

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rezaul MA, Pielke RA, Hubbard K, Niyogi D, Drimeyer PA, Clive M, Carleton A et al (2014) Land cover changes and their biogeophysical effects on climate. Int J Climatol 34:929−953

  • Sailor DJ (1995) Simulated urban climate response to modifications in surface Albedo and vegetative cover. J Appl Meteorol 34(7):1694−1704

  • Samie A, Deng X, Jia S, Chen D (2017) Scenario-based simulation on dynamics of land-use-land-cover change in Punjab Province, Pakistan. Sustainability 9:1285

  • SDPI (2010) Quarterly Pakistan forest digest. Sustain Dev Policy Inst 1:15–26

  • Shehzad K, Qamer FM, Murthy M et al (2014) Deforestation trends and spatial modelling of its drivers in the dry temperate forests of northern Pakistan – a case study of Chitra. J Mt Sci 11:1192–1207

  • Shirazi S (2012) Spatial analysis of NDVI and density of population: a case study of Lahore-Pakistan. Sci Int 24:323–328

  • Shirazi SA, Kazmi SJH (2014) Analysis of population growth and urban development in Lahore-Pakistan using geospatial techniques: suggesting some future options. South Asian Stud 29:269–280

  • Skamarock WC, Klemp JB, Dudhia J et al (2008) Description of the advanced research WRF version 3. In: NCAR technical note NCAR/TN-475+STR. National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder

    Google Scholar 

  • Storm B, Dudhia J, Basu S, Swift A, Giammanco I (2009) Evaluation of the weather research and forecasting model on forecasting low-level jets: implications for wind energy. Wind Energy 12:81–90

  • Ullah W, Takaaki N, Muhammad N, Rahman Z, Muhammad A (2017) Understanding climate change vulnerability, adaptation and risk perceptions at household level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Int J Clim Chang Str.

  • Usman M, Abbas A, Saqib ZA (2016) Conjunctive use of water and its management for enhanced productivity of major crops across tertiary canal irrigation system of Indus Basin in Pakistan. Pak J Agric Sci 53:257–264

  • Usman M, Liedl R, Shahid MA, Abbas A (2015) Land use/land cover classification and its change detection using multi-temporal MODIS NDVI data. J Geogr Sci 12:1479–1506

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang Z, Huang X, Ding A (2018) Dome effect of black carbon and its key influencing factors: a one-dimensional modelling study. Atmos Chem Phys 18:2821–2834

  • Xu Z, Mahmood R, Yang Z-L, Fu C, Su H (2015) Investigating diurnal and seasonal climatic response to land use and land cover change over monsoon Asia with the Community Earth System Model. J Geophys Res Atmos 120:1137–1152

  • Yamashima R, Takata K, Matsumoto J et al (2011) Numerical study of the impacts of land use/cover changes between 1700 and 1850 on the seasonal hydroclimate in monsoon Asia. J Meteorol Soc Jpn Ser II 89A:291–298

  • Yan H, Zhan J, Huang J et al (2014) Possible biogeophysical effects of cultivated land conversion in Northeast China in 2010-2030. Adv Meteorol 2014:9

  • Yao X, Wang Z, Wang H (2015) Impact of urbanization and land-use change on surface climate in middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, 1988–2008. Adv Meteorol 2015:1–10

  • Zhang BH, Liu SH, Liu HP et al (2012) The effect of MYJ and YSU schemes on the simulation of boundary layer meteorological factors of WRF. Chin J Geophys 55:2239–2248

  • Zittis G, Hadjinicolaou P, Lelieveld J (2014) Comparison of WRF model physics parameterizations over the MENA-CORDEX domain. Am J Clim Chang 3:490–511

Download references


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. 


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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Azhar Abbas.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Eyup Dogan

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: