Climate of Laos can be referred to as tropical monsoon even subtropical in some parts of the country. In general, this means high humidity, high rate of rainfall and having sufficient amount of rainfall throughout the country, but all together this might not be the case in all times. Which we can thank for to climate change.
Tropical monsoon climate in Laos – Characteristics
Tropical monsoon climate of Laos is characterized by Laos having cold dry season from November to February, which turns to hot dry season in March and April which ultimately leads to rainy season from May to October. In general temperatures are high throughout the year with certain exceptions in the north of the country where the temperatures can be lower. Rainy season brings highest temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius. Certainly these are just broad sketches of the real-time situation in the climate of Laos.
Consequences of climate change
Due to obvious climate change happening all around the world, seasons start to vary in Laos as well and which is also very important monsoons started to vary too. In the recent years main consequences of climate change have been flash floods, irregular rain patterns, unexpected dry/rain seasons, landslides, flooding etc.
Influence of climate on agriculture
With unpredictable weather patterns throughout the country, the key sector of the entire Lao economy, agriculture, suffers tremendously. Last thing farmer wants while planting crops is the uncertainty if there will be enough rain or sunlight necessary for crops to strive, or the uncertainty should the crops be planted at all. But that is the sad reality of being a farmer in Laos. There is a constant struggle on how to build up more resilient crops and create protective measures in case of intensive changes in weather.
But it not only farmers that are being put in danger of unpredictability, but majority of population. Namely it has been estimated that about 80 % of people of Laos have been involved in business relating agriculture.
Lao farmers are facing volatile weather conditions, years of floods are being replaced with years of droughts and other weather extremes. What more due to changes in weather patterns, numerous new diseases and parasites started attacking both crops and the cattle, bringing even more trouble to already poor and vulnerable farmers. The farmers do not need climate experts to understand that weather is changing rapidly. They feel it themselves on numerous examples. Especially when it comes to rice production.
Influence of weather changes on key crop in Laos – Rice
Rice is the most important crop in Laos, it is a staple food and responsible for survivor of entire population. If rice fails to bring expected yields it usually means starvation for entire families. In the past years due to climate change, but also due to increased usage of pesticides, rice yields have been endangered. Changes in rain patters influence the very time rice should be planted and turns the whole planting process into gambling with weather. Increased temperatures bring new troubles being followed by growing population of new insects which tamper with possibility of crop to grow. Changes in weather condition have also lead to lowering the number of different varieties of rice which used to be one of the main strengths of Lao rice production.
Long term solutions needed
Giving the dependence of Lao people on agriculture, every change that influences food production will be shortly felt throughout the country. Changes in weather conditions are bringing changes in the yields produced which can eventually bring to lack of food in the entire society. It is quite easy to understand that food shortages in Laos are threatening to become ever more occurring
Obviously, Lao people call for a long-term solution that would help them save productive land and improve probability to grow crops successfully. The topic of improving resilience on the climate change among the farmers is of great importance and they keep looking for answers.
Laos is a country that is already experiencing serious troubles brought by climate change, and it can serve as a warning sign to all of the countries in the world. Climate change is a global issue that calls for global actions and we cannot behave as it is a trouble of someone else. Even if our country is at the moment not as much impacted by climate change, that can easily change and leave a country unprepaired.