Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar has launched a digital climate atlas of Pakistan based on modern data from 1959 to 2022 for understanding the present state and future scenarios of climate change in Pakistan. The VC also inaugurated Pakistan’s first laboratory for research on climate change namely Remote Sensing, GIS and Climatic Research Lab (RSGCRL) with the funding from Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan and Punjab University at New Campus.
In this regard, Director and Principal Investigator Dr Zia ul Haq, researchers Dr Syeda Adila Batool, Dr Khalid Mahmood, Dr Asim Daud Rana, Dr Salman Tariq, Dr Shahid Pervez and others participated in the ceremony. In his address, Dr Niaz appreciated the landmark achievements and untiring efforts of researchers of the lab in solving the country’s environmental problems. He said that the modern lab was also identifying environmental problems in Pakistan which would help in dealing with problems like smog. He said that every citizen should take environmental issues seriously. He said that solving national and social problems with the creation of new knowledge was the main task of the universities. He said that more and more research institutes must be established at the national level to promote research and innovations. He said that the researchers deserved congratulations for completing the target 1100 times ahead of the set targets. He said that research in the lab would benefit policymakers. He urged the scientists to prepare scientific suggestions for resolving agriculture related issues of Pakistan.
Dr Zia ul Haq said that more than 150 climatic maps of Pakistan, prepared by RSGCRL, with five major themes of atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, landcover/land use, water & soil and anthropogenic emissions of gases covering a time span from 1959 to 2022. He said that this detailed chronological geospatial information would be useful for policy-makers, researchers, academicians, and professionals to understand the current state and future conditions of environmental change in Pakistan.
He said that the scientists working at the lab had also suggested several ways to improve air quality in big cities. He said that the researchers were giving suggestions to be incorporated in environmental policy of Pakistan. In his presentation, Dr Khalid said that they were doing research related to water usage and water level. He said that labs would also play their role in increasing agricultural production. He said that environmental awareness and change in social attitudes was the need of the hour. He said that as an affiliated lab with National Center of GIS and Space Applications (NCGSA) under Government of Pakistan’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) sponsored by HEC. He said the lab has achieved several hundred times more goals than the set target in a short period of two years.
He said RSGCRL aims at promoting and facilitate education, research activities and collaborations to study and develop GIS and Space Applications with particular emphases on climate change and sustainable development in Pakistan. The researchers thanked the PU VC for his support and encouragement for research activities.