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Pakistan to brace series of heatwaves

With mercury already exceeding 40 degrees centigrade (104 Fahrenheit) in the plains of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, Pakistan is bracing for a series of severe heat waves over the next two months.   According to experts, this is going to be the second consecutive hottest year in the South Asian region after last year during...

SAMAA | - Posted: May 14, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: May 14, 2016 | Last Updated: 5 years ago
Pakistan to brace series of heatwaves

heat wave in the city and hand showing thermometer for high temperature

With mercury already exceeding 40 degrees centigrade (104 Fahrenheit) in the plains of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, Pakistan is bracing for a series of severe heat waves over the next two months.

 

According to experts, this is going to be the second consecutive hottest year in the South Asian region after last year during which more than 5,000 people died of direct heat-related causes. Around 2000 deaths were recorded in Pakistan alone.

In Karachi more than 1000 people lost their lives to soaring heat, coupled with severe power outages. Weather pundits have forecast the possibility of recurrence of a similar simmering summer this year.

 

“Temperatures may shoot up well above 40 degree centigrade during the months of May and first half of June. Karachi may be the major theatre of heatwave” says Ghulam Rasool, Director General Pakistan Meteorological Department.

 

However, experts also hint the early start of monsoon season in Pakistan and India. Monsoon season typically starts from 1st June in India and from 15th June in Pakistan.

 

The first casualty of heat wave reported this year was in Karachi when a 45 -year-old person died on April 22.

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Pakistan and other countries of South Asia have experienced heatwaves in the recent past. The 2007 Asian heat wave affected India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The heat spell ran during the months of May and June, with the death toll shooting up to 192. The meteorological department registered a record maximum temperature of +52 °C (126 °F) in Sibi.

 

Four people died as the temperature in Lahore touched +48 °C (118 °F) on 9 June, 2007. It was a record for the previous 78 years. During the year 2010, the onset of summer was quite early. Temperatures rose to the level of those of May or June in March that year. However, in the years 2014 and 2015, the region experienced a pleasant weather even during the month of traditionally hot month of May, a proof of fast-changing climate in this part of the world.

KARACHI, PAKISTAN - JUNE 24: Pakistanis receive ice outside a hospital during a heatwave in Karachi, Pakistan on June 24, 2015. More than 1,000 people have been killed over five days by a searing heatwave in Pakistan, with the worst effects in the country's commercial capital Karachi. (Photo by Qaisar Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

If weather predictions prove correct, the situation is going to be much difficult for the South Asians again. Already, the minimum temperatures have been markedly above normal at a number of places. The high temperatures may come down only after the start of the monsoon rains but these rains are not scheduled to pour until the beginning of June.

 

Weather watchers and local experts fear if the mercury continues to soar above average degrees until the arrival of monsoon, the situation could turn into a major humanitarian crisis, resulting in deaths and affecting major crops. The poor harvest of cotton crop in the Punjab province last year is just a manifestation of climate change phenomenon. Only solution to this catastrophe is bringing more and more area under forests and stop anti-environment activities.

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