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Meteorological data and farmers’ perception of coastal climate in Bangladesh

Publication Date - 2020-02-20 00:00:00

Publication Title : Meteorological data and farmers’ perception of coastal climate in Bangladesh

Publicationed By : Prof Dr Md Kamrul Hasan

Publication Publication Date : 2020-02-20 00:00:00

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Publication Description :

This study compares the scientifically observed spatiotemporal climate variability with farmer perceptions. A survey of 381 farmers and ten focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to collect data from ten coastal subdistricts. We hypothesized that any gap between farmer perceptions and meteorological data could be due to variations in their individual characteristics. An unsupervised clustering algorithm was used to categorise the farmers into good and poor perception clusters to test the hypothesis. The climatic data showed a low (0.45 °C) spatial difference of the mean temperature (1988–2017) among the visited locations. Annual rainfall variations between the western and eastern coastal areas could be more than 100 cm, making the eastern coasts wetter. The FGD outputs were mostly cognate with meteorological data that the recent (2013–2017) average temperature was higher (except early winter) and, in general, rainfall was lower than that of 1998–2002. Compared to the meteorological data, greater imperfect perceptions of farmers were observed in case of rainfall and winter temperature. This resulted in a gap between the meteorological data and farmer perceptions at the household level. Among the sampled farmers, only 30% had meteorologically consistent perceptions of average-, summer- and winter-temperature, and rainfall. The cluster analysis has divided the farmers into good perception (41.2%) and poor perception (58.8%) clusters. Greater proportions of the western coastal farmers were clustered in the good perception group than that of the eastern parts. A higher accuracy of the perceptions was found among the better-off farmers who were characterized by younger age, better education, smaller family size, richer economic status, larger farm size, more affiliation with non-farm jobs, users of more communication media, closer to the marketplaces and more distant from the sea. The worse-off households, in particular, require policy and extension support to update their understanding of climate change to facilitate adaptation strategies.

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