The year 2011 was indicative of the increasing capriciousness of Pakistan’s weather patterns; and the country will be worse-off in 2012 if the government does not plan ahead, warn meteorological experts.
The region is currently going through a dry spell, the longest since 2002, said Chief Meteorologist Dr Ghulam Rasul, who heads the research and development division in Islamabad.
The last dry spell lasted four years, between 1999 and 2002, and wreaked major havoc, he added.
The year of abnormalities
Last year was rife with weather irregularities, said Dr Rasul. Temperatures peaked in February, resulting in a premature wheat crop. This was followed by the monsoons that brought the heaviest rainfall in the country’s history, he added.
“The monsoons come from Bay of Bengal and enter Pakistan through Kashmir and northeast Punjab along the foothills of Himalayas,” he said.
“But in 2011, the monsoon axis changed its track and tilted towards Sindh, causing heavy rains and a recurring of floods in the province,” he added.
The meteorologist also talked about the formation of two major cyclones over the Arabian Sea during October and November.
Although these cyclones didn’t hit Pakistan’s coastal area, and drifted towards Oman, we can be affected in the future, Rasul said.
The last anomaly of the year was a drought, the meteorologist said.
The country is going through a dry spell for the last four months which is resulting in diseases, damage to crops and danger to human and wildlife, he said.
If the dry spell persists, it can be more fatal, he added.
In its quarterly forecast for the first three months of 2012, the Met office expects January to be drier than November and December 2011.
If the situation persists, temperatures will rise once again in February, Rasul added.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2012.
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