LAHORE - Space Science Department, the Punjab University (PU), has launched its first-ever digital environmental atlas to understand current and future climate change scenarios besides a Remote Sensing, GIS and Climatic Research Laboratory (RSGCRL) to investigate climate change patterns in the country.

The digital environmental atlas of Pakistan has been based on modern data from 1959 to 2022 which will help in understanding climate change in the country while the RSGCRL, built with funding from the Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC), will conduct research on climate change.

The detailed chronological information will be useful for policy-makers, researchers, academicians, and professionals to understand current state and future conditions of environmental change in Pakistan.

Vice Chancellor PU Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar inaugurated the lab and launched the atlas here on Tuesday. Director Space Scince Department PU, principal investigator Dr Ziaul Haq, and researchers were also present. VC PU Dr Niaz appreciated the landmark achievement, adding that the lab would help identify environmental problems in the country which would help in dealing with problems like smog.  He said that solving national and social problems with the creation of new knowledge was the main task of the universities.

Dr Ziaul Haq, speaking on the occasion, said more than 150 climatic maps of Pakistan, prepared by the RSGCRL, with five major themes of atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric dynamics, landcover/ landuse, water and soil and anthropogenic emissions of gases covering a time span from 1959 to 2022 had been used. He said scientists working at the lab had also suggested several ways to improve air quality in big cities. He added that the researchers were giving suggestions to be incorporated in environmental policy of Pakistan.

He said the RSGCRL aimed at promoting and facilitate education, research activities and collaborations to study and develop GIS and Space Applications with particular emphasis on climate change and sustainable development in Pakistan.