Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering

Climate Change: Consequences on Iraq’s Environment

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  • Abstract

    Iraq as a country is now suffering from Climate Change Impacts in similar or even worse ways than many other countries of the world. The manifestations of these climate changes are being felt in global warming, changes to weather driving elements and sea level rise. Increasing temperatures, declining precipitation rates and changed distribution patterns together with increasing evaporation are causing water stress in Iraq. However, they trigger other changes in a sort of chain reaction; such as droughts, desertification and sand storms. Iraq is not even safe from the consequences of sea level rise where the southern part of the Tigris- Euphrates delta is threatened by inundation and Iraq’s ports and sea coast line are endangered by such projected rise. So far the agricultural sector in Iraq has been hit very badly by the reduced water availability for arable lands; whether rain fed lands as in the northern part, or irrigated lands using the declining discharges of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers as in the southern and middle parts. These discharges have already been additionally strained by the unfair sharing practiced by Turkey from which most of the two rivers’ water resources originate. The present negative climate change trends seem to be continuing in the future as it is obvious from all projections and studies being performed so far. Loss of cultivable land to desertification, recurrent droughts and sand storms and declining agriculture are the pattern of change in Iraq’s already fragile environment; and this will result inevitably in much more distress for the population in the future and will lead to social unrest. These will add to the great pressures facing all future governments unless the government takes protective planning and solutions.

    Keywords: Climate Change, Global Warming, Sea level rise, Desertification, Droughts, Sand Storms.