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Thailand cited as one of the ten most flood-affected countries in the world

Floods are by far the greatest natural hazard facing Thailand in terms of economic and human impacts. Thailand is cited as one of the ten most flood-affected countries in the world. Drought and cyclone impacts also represent major hazards. All may intensify in future climate scenarios.

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“Climate Risk Country Profile – Thailand” outlines rapid onset and long-term changes in key climate parameters, as well as the impact of these changes on communities, livelihoods, and economies—many of which are already underway.

The publication is part of a series of climate risk country profiles published jointly by ADB and the World Bank Group. The aim of the series is to provide development practitioners with easy-to-use technical resources to facilitate upstream country diagnostics, policy dialogue, and strategic planning.

KEY MESSAGES

• Observations show temperature increases across Thailand since the mid-20th century and an increase in annual precipitation. Most of this increase occurs during the wet season.

• By the 2090s, the average temperature is projected to increase by 0.95°C–3.23°C above the 1986–2005 baseline, with the rate of warming dependent on the emissions pathway.

• Projected temperature increases are strongest in the south, and in daily maximum and minimum temperatures.

• Floods are by far the greatest natural hazard facing Thailand in terms of economic and human impacts. Thailand is cited as one of the ten most flood-affected countries in the world. Drought and cyclone impacts also represent major hazards. All may intensify in future climate scenarios.

• The number of people affected by an extreme river flood could grow by over 2 million by 2035–2044, and coastal flooding could affect a further 2.4 million people by 2070–2100.

• Projections suggest that Thailand’s agriculture sector could be significantly affected by a changing climate, due to its location in the tropics where agricultural productivity is particularly vulnerable to temperature rises.

• The combination of rising seas and sinking land, as well as potential cyclone-induced storm surge resulted from the climate change impact, place the country’s capital Bangkok in a precarious position when the net, or relative, rate of sea-level rise. Large amounts of critical public and private infrastructure are in areas which are likely to be exposed under future climate change situation.

• The aftermath of devastating floods in 2011 provides an example of how climate change can adversely affect poorer people in Thailand, with studies showing that post-flood, higher income groups received more government compensation than lower income groups.

• The human impacts of climate change in Thailand remain dependent on the approach to adaptation adopted, but there is a significant risk that the poorest and marginalized groups will experience disproportionately greater loss and damage.

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

Thailand is the 20th most populous country in the world, located at the center of Southeast Asia with a land area of 513,120 km2.

Thailand is categorized into key areas: the northern region is hilly and mountainous, the northeast region is a high plain, with the central region as a large, low plain, the eastern region has valleys and small hills, with the western region being hilly and mountainous.

The southern end of the country is a peninsula with the Andaman Sea to the west and Gulf of Thailand. Located in the tropical region, Thailand’s climate is relatively warm all year round.

By 2030, Thailand’s population is projected to reach about 71–77 million, with an increasing proportion living in urban areas. Thailand’s economy is 90% based on the industrial and service sector, with the agricultural sector accounting for only 10% (but 33% of the workforce).

Source: Climate Risk Country Profile: Thailand

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