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Document Abstract
Published: 2016

Climate change in Afghanistan: what does it mean for rural livelihoods and food security?

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Afghanistan has already been, and will continue to be, heavily affected by the negative impacts of climate change. And it is the most vulnerable people - particularly subsistence farmers and pastoralists who de-pend on natural resources for their survival – who are suffering most.

This report is structured around the four climate hazards with the largest impact on food security in Afghanistan:

  • drought caused by localized lack of rainfall
  • drought in irrigated areas caused by re-duced snowmelt in upland areas
  • floods caused by localized heavy rainfall
  • and riverine floods caused by rapid snowmelt in the spring

The climate analysis shown so far in this report focuses on under-standing how climate risks have already changed in Afghanistan over the past thirty years. In this section, we turn to potential risks under future climate change. Despite the inherent uncertainties asso-ciated with model-based climate projections, these can be useful to get a sense of how the livelihood impacts already observed might be exacerbated (or alleviated) in the future.

These projections suggest that the main negative impact of climate change in Afghanistan in the future will be increased drought risk—with increased flood risk being of secondary concern. Annual droughts in many parts of the country will likely become the norm by 2030, rather than being a temporary or cyclical event. This will mostly be due to higher temperatures leading to higher evapotranspiration and higher crop and livestock water demand.

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