Striving to comprehend the extreme events in Pakistan The PhD life story of Farhan Saleem



Awarded by CAS-TWAS President’s Fellowship Programme in 2016, Farhan Saleem began to pursue his doctoral degree at CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Climate and Environment Sciences, which is also known as International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES) in Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Farhan Saleem studied under the supervision of Prof. Xiaodong ZENG, who was selected as TWAS Young Affiliates during the period of 2008-2012. 

During his study, Farhan Saleem participated in a key research project entitled “Investigation of physical mechanisms, prediction, projection and ecological impacts of extreme climates over mid and high latitudes of Asia”, sponsored by the major program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China. Working on this project, he has learned and familiarized with the advanced skills to identify extremes in observed and modeled data.With evaluation of the large-scale modes of climate variability, he investigates the physical mechanisms relevant to extreme and reveals the pattern how the sea surface temperature variability over the Pacific influences the temperature and rainfall extremes over Pakistan, with a special focus on ENSO events. The results of this research are published in a fully peer-reviewed (Q1) journal of Atmospheric Research (SCI), entitled “Regional changes in extreme temperature records over Pakistan and their relation to Pacific Variability”. Moreover, during the last 5 years at CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Climate and Environment Sciences, Farhan Saleem has published 9 research articles (i.e., total Impact Factor score of above 50) in peer-reviewed SCI journals as coauthor. 

Farhan Saleem has been awarded the Excellent International Student for two consecutive years (2020 & 2021), which is proof of his academic excellence. He has given various talks at international conferences and actively participated in workshops around the globe. Further, he was also selected as a “Graduate Visiting Student” at National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the USA from May to September 2019, working on a project to investigate the role of large-scale circulation patterns causing severe heatwaves over Pakistan. 

Farhan Saleem plans to extend his research in compound weather and extreme events in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked 5th among the most affected countries due to climate change. According to the research of Asian Development Bank (ADB), catastrophic floods, droughts, and cyclones have plagued Pakistan in recent years. The 2010 flood killed 1,600 people and caused around $10 billion in damage. The 2015 Karachi heatwave led to the death of more than 1,200 people. Climate change-related natural hazards may increase in frequency and severity in the coming decades. Climatic changes are expected to have wide-ranging impacts on Pakistan, affecting agricultural productivity, water availability, and the increased frequency of extreme climatic events. Therefore, Pakistan requires greater progress in environmental protection in response to the growing threat of climate change. Farhan Saleem believes there is a pressing need for an in-depth investigation of extreme weather and climate events. His research will help policymakers to adopt climate change adaptation measures in Pakistan.

Introduction of CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Climate and Environment Sciences 

International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences (ICCES) was founded in 1991. It was selected as the representative center of China to join the network of Centre of Excellence of COMSATS (Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South) in 1995. ICCES also holds the secretariat of CAS-TWAS-WMO Forum (CTWF) on Climate Science since 2000, and annually organizes international symposiums and training workshops. In 2013, ICCES was selected as one of the first five CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence to build scientific strength and drive innovation in the developing world.

ICCES focuses its research on the key scientific problems related to global climate and environmental changes. The main research fields include the development of Dynamical Earth System Model and numerical simulation, meteorological and environmental forecast and related disaster assessment theory and technique, data assimilation theory and methodology, and earth system theory and natural cybernetics.

ICCES is devoted to establishing the cooperative and innovation research center of CAS and TWAS in the area of climate and environment sciences and provides services to the developing countries with scientific support and advisory, capacity building.

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