11 January, 2014
KARACHI: With the start of winter this year, parts of country were engulfed by a severe cold wave breaking decades old records in many places, showing impacts of climate change.
A detailed study on the change of weather patterns issued by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Friday states that apart from cold and heavy snowfall there would be less winter rains, due to which Pakistan may face water shortage in upcoming months.
“Though, during this winter (January-March 2013) snowfall over the mountainous area is expected 10 to 15 percent more than normal, the rainfall will be about 30 percent less than long period average,” said Director General PMD Arif Mahmood in the report. The PMD calculates the results on the basis of the average official annual record of the weather for the long period, which is spread over five decades (1961 to 2010).
The report, on the winter precipitation for Pakistan, further predicted the availability of water in rain-fed areas would be limited, and therefore, stated that rabi crops (particularly wheat) were likely to suffer from water shortage. “There are possibilities of fewer yields and less production of wheat, which can cause food shortage in the upcoming days, therefore water resources must be utilised judiciously to meet the water requirements in the country,” the report further stated.
Another PMD reporter disclosed that not only were flash floods, glacier melting, scattered rainfall, droughts and increasing desertification impacts of Climate Change in Pakistan, but now it was also responsible for change in weather patterns.”In recent years, winter is delayed about 25 to 30 days and also the intensity of the cold has increased, while the span of winter has reduced, which has effected almost every field of life, from agriculture to urban life. If the situation prevails for a longer time period, the country will suffer a lot,” the report stated.
Due to the change in the weather pattern, even Karachi, which is known for its mild winters, has started feeling the intensity of the decreasing mercury and after many decades, the city recorded a minimum temperature of six degrees Celsius. The weather experts are of the view that chilling winter in parts of the country was a result of extreme cold in Europe. They opine that cold winds traveling from Europe dried up after crossing Central Asia and while entering Pakistan. The cold has also delayed winter rains, as strong currents push the warm, moist winds rising from Arabian Sea.
In an advisory, issued on Friday evening, PMD predicted that a shallow westerly wave is moving over the northern parts of the country and likely to move eastward by Saturday afternoon.
“Mainly very cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country. However, partly cloudy weather with light rain-snowfall is expected over the hills in isolated places of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Fog and frost is expected in plain areas of Punjab and upper Sindh during night and morning hours and until Sunday evening mainly very cold and dry weather is expected in most parts of the country,” the advisory stated. Pak Tribune