AMMAN — Jordan will witness a steady increase in temperatures, more dry spells and a drop in precipitation during the coming decades as the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, according to the Third National Communication on Climate Change.

Temperatures are expected to rise by 1.5°C-2.5°C by the year 2050, while precipitation in the southern and eastern regions will drop by 30 per cent, according to the report, which was officially launched on Tuesday.

Annual precipitation will decrease significantly with time, at a rate of 1.2 millimetres per year, while simultaneously, the mean, maximum and minimum air temperature will tend to increase significantly by 0.02°C, 0.01°C and 0.03°C per year, respectively, the report indicated.

The report provides a long-term, scientifically sound description of the projected impacts of climate change on Jordan as well as a comprehensive mitigation assessment and a detailed inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, Environment Minister Taher Shakhshir said in its foreword.

In the water sector, the report indicated that the main climate hazards are a rise in temperatures, a drop in precipitation, increased incidents of drought and more evaporation.

The climate hazards are expected to lead to reduced groundwater recharge and quality deterioration, stream flow reduction and increased water demand.

Adaptation strategies and measures suggested for the water sector include rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment, desalination, increased efficiency of irrigation technologies, greywater reuse and public awareness.

In the agriculture sector, the third national communication indicated that the poor in rural communities are expected to face the most severe consequences of climate change through disruption of livelihood options that depend on natural resource management.

The report identified four major risks associated with climate change for the sector: temperature increase, rainfall decrease, droughts and a shift in the wet season, with cropping systems, livestock production, and livelihood and food security being affected the most.

Key adaptation measures listed by the report entail modifying the cropping pattern and calendar, including planting and harvesting dates, implementing supplemental irrigation and water harvesting techniques and improving water use efficiency.

Climate change hazards for biodiversity and ecosystems will be represented by droughts, forest dieback, change in community composition, expansion of drier biomes into marginal lands, habitat degradation and species loss.

The report said the highest exposure to the impact of climate change is expected in the eastern and southern regions, as well as mountainous areas in the northern region.

“Overall, it was noticed that the highest vulnerable ecosystems are forests, especially in the north, and freshwater ecosystems, especially in the Jordan Rift Valley. [This] highlights the priority to perform adaptation interventions within these two ecosystems,” the report said.

Adaptation measures for biodiversity and ecosystems entail the restoration of degraded forests; use of diverse conservation governance forms such as protected areas and special conservation areas; preservation of water quality in catchment areas; and restoration and protection of rangelands to reduce the vulnerability of livestock to drought.

The impact of climate change on coastal areas will occur through a rise in sea levels, extreme rainfall events or droughts in upstream terrestrial areas that are connected to runoff and flooding, sea surface temperatures and carbon dioxide concentrations.

With the projected shortage of water, the reuse of greywater or treated wastewater in irrigation of trees and vegetables were suggested as adaptation measures in the health sector.

If the water is not well-treated, it could increase the risk of transmission of several pathogens though crop contamination, which could cause outbreaks like typhoid fever or hepatitis A, the report said.

It suggested the establishment of an early warning system, adoption of healthy buildings where greywater is separated from black water and the improvement of sanitary conditions.

UNDP Country Director Zena Ali Ahmad said the Third National Communication on Climate Change will be officially handed over to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat at the UNFCCC COP 20: Lima Climate Change Conference early next month.

The communication was prepared by the Environment Ministry and supported by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility.—-report