ISLAMABAD: March of this year has emerged as the third warmest on record the world over, especially in Pakistan where a heatwave swept across Sindh and temperatures in various towns and cities touched 45°C.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department data, at least 34 meteorological stations registered temperatures 10°C above the monthly average last month.
The European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) Copernicus Climate Change report reads: “March is 3rd warmest on record, many contrasts.”
Citing PMD, the report states: “Pakistan, for instance, had a heatwave, especially in Sindh, with temperatures up to 45°C.”
The report has been compiled by gathering data recorded by weather forecast departments worldwide for March this year.
It stated that data spikes were recorded at 34 weather stations in Pakistan, including Nokundi, Dalbandin, Panjgur, Turbat, Khuzdar, Zhob, Barkhan, Jacobabad, Sukkur, Rohri, Moenjodaro, Padidan, Nawabshah, Chattar, Islamabad, Sargodha, Mianwali, Rafiqui, Khanpur, Bannu, Kohat, Peshawar, Kamra, Chitral, Dir, Sadhu Sharif, Skardhu and Kakul.
Commenting on the situation, Pakistani climate scientist Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry said: “The abrupt change in climate conditions is basically a manifestation of climate change, especially in our region.”
Pakistan, he said, continued to bear the brunt of climate change and this impact was reflected through extreme weather event.
Chaudhry, who is also a former vice-president of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), told The Express Tribune that keeping in view of current sudden changes in weather conditions, the region would face several extreme weather events in the near future.
“This month, however, we are experiencing entirely opposite weather [pattern]. Recent snowfall in Murree and elsewhere in the country after mid-April is unusual. This caused a significant and sudden drop in temperature.”
He said that such extreme weather events in March and April would have an impact on our wheat production”.
Chaudhry, said the current trend indicated that Pakistan would have to contend with an extended summer season.
Global preview March 2018
According to the ECMWF Copernicus Climate Change report, temperatures were substantially above average across a large region stretching from north-eastern Africa through the Middle East and into China and the Indian sub-continent.
Many parts of south and west Asia and the Middle East witnessed a heatwave, peaking during March 28-31.
The report, which provided an overview of weather conditions in March this year, states: “Although not as exceptional as the values for March 2016 and March 2017, it was in line with the upward trend of 0.18°C per decade seen in global temperature data from 1979 onwards.”
The report states that above-average temperatures were witnessed in the Gulf region. Bahrain recorded a mean temperature of 24.6°C for the month “which is 3.6°C above the long-term normal and goes on record as the highest mean temperatures for March since 1902”.
Also during the past month, successive frontal systems swept across Northern Africa. Dust from Algeria and Libya reached central and eastern Mediterranean throughout the month. The most severe of such event started on March 20-21 in the Libyan desert which moved north-eastwards, affecting Greece, especially Crete, Turkey, the Caucasus region and Iran (March 23-26). A dust storm started on March 27 in Libya and spread south and eastwards, affecting Egypt, Sudan and Chad. Another dust storm on March 25 and 26 in the Gobi desert moved eastwards affecting Beijing on March 28, Eastern China, Korea and Japan.