ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Climate Change constituted a committee on Monday to delve into the causes of the deadly heatwave in the country, particularly Karachi, and suggest measures to cope with the varying weather patterns.
Experts fear a severe cold wave may hit Karachi in the winter that may claim human lives if timely preventive measures are not adopted and the committee will finalise recommendations on this aspect too.
Dr Qamaruz Zaman Chaudhry, a former director general of the meteorological department, is the convener of the ‘Expert study and investigative group’ formed to determine the unusual weather patterns and visible signs of climate change in the region, particularly Pakistan.
According to Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan, the proposals of the committee will help tackle the unusual weather changes like the recent heatwave. “Pakistan needs to develop a strategy for institutional capacity building and awareness and formulate a comprehensive report and recommendations to enhance understanding and capacity to respond to such situations,” he said.
Cold wave may be equally harmful to Karachi in winter
The committee will submit its report within two weeks to the minister who recently faced criticism after blaming coal-based power houses in Indian state of Rajasthan for the heatwave in Karachi.
Technical experts foresee more unusual weather patterns and phenomena caused by climate change, such as a ‘tornado’ in Peshawar in April which claimed about 45 lives.
Talking to Dawn, Met Office DG Dr Ghulam Rasul said that climate change was already causing surprises and damage to the environment and people.
“Many things are not clear even to us professionals. However we can develop early warning systems and improve coordination with relevant agencies to help mitigate the losses.”
He said the heatwave in Karachi had been caused by a low pressure in the Arabian Sea which stopped temperate sea breeze from reaching the city.
“If the sea breeze stops in winters then the cold winds from Kandahar and Quetta will hit Karachi and the result can be equally serious. The sea breeze keeps Karachi safe from hot winds coming from the deserts and also from cold winds coming from the mountains in winter.”
The committee comprises Dr Chaudhry, Dr Rasul, NDMA’s Disaster Risk Reduction Member Ahmad Kamal, the Global Change Impact Study Centre’s Climatology chief Shahbaz Mahmood, National Health Emergency Preparedness DG Munir Ahmad Mangrio and representatives of the provincial disaster management authorities.
Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2015