Skip to main content

The Implications of Climate Change on Floods of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in Bangladesh

Abstract

Climate change in the future would have implications for river discharges in Bangladesh. In this article, possible changes in the magnitude, extent and depth of floods of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna (GBM) rivers in Bangladesh were assessed using a sequence of empirical models and the MIKE11-GIS hydrodynamic model. Climate change scenarios were constructed from the results of four General Circulation Models (GCMs) –CSIRO9, UKTR, GFDL and LLNL, which demonstrate a range of uncertainties. Changes in magnitude, depth and extent of flood discharge vary considerably between the GCMs. Future changes in the peak discharge of the Ganges River are expected to be higher than those for the Brahmaputra River. Peak discharge of the Meghna River may also increase considerably. As a result, significant changes in the spatial extent and depths of inundation in Bangladesh may occur. Faster changes in inundation are expected at low temperature increases than of higher temperature changes. Changes in land inundation categories may introduce substantial changes in rice agriculture and cropping patterns in Bangladesh. Reduction of increased flood hazard due to climate change requires strengthening of flood management policies and adaptation measures in Bangladesh.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Ahmad, Q. K.: 2000, ‘Opening Statement’, in Ahmad, Q. K., Chowdhury, A. K., Azad, Imam, S. H., and Sarker, M. (eds.), Perspectives on Flood 1998, University Press Limited, Dhaka, pp. 133–136.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ahmad, Q. K. and Warrick, R. A.: 1996, The Implications of Climate and Sea-Level Change for Bangladesh, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ahmed, A. U.: 2001, ‘Adaptability of Bangladesh's Crop Agriculture to Climate Change: Possibilities and Limitations’, Asia Pacif. J. Environ. Develop. 7, 71–93.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ahmed, A. U. and Mirza, M. M. Q.: 2000, ‘Review of Causes and Dimensions of Floods with Particular Reference to Flood '98: National Perspectives’, in Ahmad, Q. K., Chowdhury, A. K. Azad, Imam, S. H., and Sarker, M. (eds.), Perspectives on Flood 1998, University Press Limited, Dhaka, pp. 67–84.

    Google Scholar 

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB): 1994, Climate Change in Asia: Bangladesh Country Report, ADB, Manila, the Philippines.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB): 1987, Flood in Bangladesh 1987: Investigation, Review and Recommendation for Flood Control, BWDB, Dhaka.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB): 1995, Daily Discharge Data for the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers, BWDB, Dhaka.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berry, W. D. and Feldman, S.: 1985, Multiple Regression in Practice, Sage Publications, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bhattacharya, D.: 1998, ‘Bangladesh Economy after Flood'98: The Macroeconomic Outlook’, Center for Development Alternatives, Dhaka, unpublished paper.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowerman, B. L. and O'Connell, R. T.: 1990, Linear Statistical Models: An Applied Approach, Thompson Information/Publishing Group, Boston.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brammer, H.: 1990, ‘Floods in Bangladesh I. Geographical Background to the 1987 and 1988 Floods’, Geogr. J. 156, 12–22.

    Google Scholar 

  • Carter, T. R., Parry, M. L., Harasawa, H., and Nishioka, S.: 1994, IPCC Technical Guidelines for Assessing Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations, WMO/UNEP.

  • Cattel, R. B.: 1966, ‘The Scree Test for the Number of Factors’, Multi. Behavral. Res. 1, 245–276.

    Google Scholar 

  • Climatic Research Unit (CRU): 1995, The MAGGIC/SCENGEN Climate Scenario Generator, Technical Manual, CRU, University of East Anglia, U.K.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cook, R. D. and Wesberg, S.: 1982, Residuals and Influence in Regression, Chapman and Hall, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cubasch, U., Hegerl, G. C., and Waskewitz, J.: 1996, ‘Prediction, Detection and Regional Assessment of Anthropogenic Climate Change’, Geophysica 32, 77–96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dunteman, G. H.: 1989, Principal Components Analysis, Sage, London, U.K.

    Google Scholar 

  • Flood Action Plan 19 (FAP 19): 1995, National Digital Elevation Model: A 500 Meter Resolution Land Surface Model of Bangladesh, ISPAN, Dhaka.

    Google Scholar 

  • French Engineering Consortium (FEC): 1989, Prefeasibility Study for Flood Control in Bangladesh, Vol. 2: Present Conditions, FEC, Paris.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, H. B., Whetton, P. H., Pittock, A. B., Fowler, A. M., and Haylock, M. R.: 1992, ‘Simulated Changes in Daily Rainfall Intensity Due to Enhanced Greenhouse Effect’, Clim. Dyn. 8, 83–102.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamilton, L. S.: 1987, ‘What Are the Impacts of Himalayan Deforestation on the Ganges-Brahmaputra Lowlands and Delta?’, Mountain Res. Develop. 7, 256–263.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hofer, T.: 1998, ‘Do Land Use Changes in the Himalayas Affect Downstream Flooding?-Traditional Understanding and New Evidences’, in Kale, V. S. (ed.), Flood Studies in India, Geological Society of India, Bangalore, pp. 119–141.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hulme, M.: 1994, ‘Regional Climate Change Scenarios Based on IPCC Emissions Projections with Some Illustrations for Africa’, Area 26, 33–44.

    Google Scholar 

  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): 2001, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis-Summary for Policymakers and Technical Summary of the Working Group I Report, IPCC WGI, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ives, J. D. and Messerli, B.: 1989, The Himalayan Dilemma: Reconciling Development and Conservation, Routledge, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaiser, H. F.: 1960, ‘Application of Electronic Computers for Factor Analysis’, Educational Pshy. Measurement 20, 141–151.

    Google Scholar 

  • Khalequzzaman, Md.: 1994, ‘Recent Floods in Bangladesh: Possible Causes and Solutions’, Natural Hazards 9, 65–80.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lal, M., Harasawa, H., and Murdiyarso, D.: 2001, ‘Asia’, in McCarthy, J. J., Canziani, O. F., Leary, N. A., Dokken, D. J., and White, K. S. (eds.), Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Cambridge University Press, U.K., pp. 533–590.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maidment, D. R.: 1993, Handbook of Applied Hydrology, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Manly, B. F. J.: 1986, Multivariate Statistical Methods: A Primer, Chapman and Hall, London.

    Google Scholar 

  • Master Plan Organisation (MPO): 1987, Floods and Storms, Technical Report No. 11, MPO, Dhaka.

    Google Scholar 

  • McGregor, J. L., Gordon, H. B., Watterson, I. G., Dix, M. R., and Rotstayn, L. D.: 1993, The CSIRO9-level Atmospheric General Circulation Model, CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research Technical Paper No. 26, CSIRO, PMB1, Mordialloc, Victoria 3195, Australia.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. M. Q.: 1997, Modelling the Effects of Climate Change on Flooding in Bangladesh, Ph.D. Thesis, International Global Change Institute (IGCI), University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, unpublished.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. M. Q.: 2002, ‘The Ganges Water Sharing Treaty: Risk Analysis of the Negotiated Discharge’, Int. J. Water 2(1), 57–73.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. M. Q.: 2003, ‘Three Recent Extreme Floods in Bangladesh: A Hydro-meteorological Analysis’, Natural Hazards 28(1), 35–64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. M.Q and Dixit, A.: 1997, ‘Climate Change and Water Resources in the GBM Basins’ Water Nepal 5, 71–100.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. M. Q, Warrick, R. A., Ericksen, N. J., and Kenny, G. J.: 1998, ‘Trends and Persistence in Precipitation in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Basins in South Asia’, Hydrol. Sci. J. 43, 845–858.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mirza, M. M. Q., Warrick, R. A., Ericksen, N. J., and Kenny, G. J.: 2002, ‘Are Floods Getting Worse in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Basins?’, Environ. Hazards 3, 37–48.

    Google Scholar 

  • Morgan, R. P. C.: 1971, ‘Rainfall in West Malaysia-A Preliminary Regionalisation Using Principal Components Analysis’, Area 3, 222–227.

    Google Scholar 

  • Murphy, J.M. and Mitchell, J. F. B.: 1995, ‘Transient Reponse to the Hadley Centre Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Model to Increasing Carbon Dioxide. Part II. Spatial and Temporal Structure of Response’, J. Climate 8, 57–80.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ogallo, L. J.: 1989, ‘The Spatial and Temporal Patterns of the East African Seasonal Rainfall Derived from Principal Component Analysis’, Int. J. Clim. 9, 145–167.

    Google Scholar 

  • Paul, B. K. and Rasid, H.: 1993, ‘Flood Damage to Rice Crops in Bangladesh’, Geogr. Rev. 83, 151–159.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pike, J. G.: 1964, ‘Estimation of Annual Runoff from Meteorological Data in a Tropical Climate’, J. Hydrol. 2, 116–123.

    Google Scholar 

  • Regenmortel, G. V.: 1995, ‘Regionalisation of Botsowana Rainfall during the 1980s Using Principal Component Analysis’, Int. J. Clim. 5, 313–323.

    Google Scholar 

  • Resource Analysis: 1993, The Vulnerability Analysis of Bangladesh to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, Summary Report, Resource Analysis and Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roeckner, E., Bengtsson, L., Feitcher, J., Leliveld, J., and Rodhe, H.: 1999, ‘Transient Climate Change with a Coupled Atmosphere-ocean GCM, Including Tropospheric Sulphur Cycle’, J. Climate 12, 3004–3032.

    Google Scholar 

  • Salinger, J. M.: 1980, New Zealand Climate: The Instrumental Method, Ph.D. Thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, unpublished.

    Google Scholar 

  • Warrick, R. A., Kenny, G. J., Sims, G. C., Ericksen, N. J., Ahmad, Q. K., and Mirza, M. M. Q.: 1996, ‘Integrated Model Systems for National Assessments of the Effects of Climate Change: Applications in New Zealand and Bangladesh’, in Erda, L., Bolhofer, W. C., Huq, S., Lenhart, S., Mukerjee, S. K., Smith, J. B., and Wisniewski, J. (eds.), Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation in Asia and the Pacific, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, pp. 215–227.

    Google Scholar 

  • Whener, M. F. and Convey, C.: 1995, Description and Validation of the LLNL/UCLA Parallel Atmospheric GCM, Technical Report UCRL-D-123223, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

  • Wetherald, R. T. and Manabe, S.: 1986, ‘An Investigation of Cloud Cover Change in Response to Thermal Forcing’, Clim. Change 8, 5–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • World Meteorological Organisation (WMO): 1987, Water Resources and Climate Change: Sensitivity of Water-Resource to Climate Change and Variability, WMO, Geneva.

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank: 1989, Bangladesh: Action Plan for Flood Control, World Bank, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mirza, M.M.Q., Warrick, R.A. & Ericksen, N.J. The Implications of Climate Change on Floods of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in Bangladesh. Climatic Change 57, 287–318 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022825915791

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1022825915791

Keywords

  • Climate Change
  • General Circulation Model
  • River Discharge
  • Change Scenario
  • Climate Change Scenario