KARACHI: Pakistan’s fast-changing weather trend is setting records but not for good reasons — February 2021 was found to be the third driest month over the past 60 years, according to the meteorological department that earlier reported January as the 17th driest month since 1961.
While the country received less than average rains in the first two months of the current year, the average temperature in February was at least 3.35 Celsius warmer.
In its “Pakistan’s Monthly Climate Summary — February 2021”, which was released on Monday, the Met Office came up with detailed data, fast-changing weather models and comparative analysis indicating concerns over the country’s climate front. The summary said February 2021 was one of the warmest and driest months on record for Pakistan.
“National rainfall for the month of February 2021 was 84 per cent below normal. February 2021 had been the third driest month in the country since 1961. All six administrative regions experienced their record-deficient monthly rainfall,” it added.
February 2021 was the driest month on record for Sindh and Punjab, second driest for Balochistan and fifth rain-deficient month for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Met Office study.
“The entire Sindh region recorded no rainfall for the second consecutive month,” it said.
“The wettest place of the month in the country was Kalam, KP (92.6 mm). The wettest day of the month in the country was 28th at AJK’s Kotli with 31mm of rainfall. The national mean monthly temperature of February 2021 for Pakistan as a whole was 16.67 degrees Celsius, being 3.35 degrees centigrade warmer than average. The mean maximum temperature at country-level was 4.58°C warmer than average,” it said and added that the minimum temperature for February was 8.28°C, being 2.09°C warmer than average.
“All administrative regions recorded significantly warmer temperatures,” it said. “The mean temperature anomalies of February were 2-4°C over major parts of the country. The country’s hottest day was 26th February at Shaheed Benazirabad with 38.3°C temperature.”
During February 2021, the coldest temperature of -10.0 °C was recorded at Astore in Gilgit-Baltistan, on the first day of the second month, while the warmest nights of the country were recorded on Feb 27 and 28 over Karachi with the minimum temperature of 22 Celsius, said the Met Office summary.
While mentioning “temperature — abnormal warning” in the summary, the Met Office said the national mean monthly temperature for Pakistan as a whole was 16.67 Celsius, being 3.35 Celsius warmer than monthly average.
“The mean maximum (day) temperature at country-level was 25.06°C, being 4.58°C warmer than average of 20.48°C. The night temperature (minimum) was 8.28°C, being 2.09°C warmer than country-average of 6.19°C,” it added.
The weatherman agrees that models and data suggest “no good signs” but insists that one needs to monitor it closely before arriving at any conclusion about reasons behind the fast-changing weather patterns.
“If such things continue to stay and numbers don’t improve in the positive way anytime soon, then definitely it would be a cause of concern,” said Sardar Sarfaraz at the Met Office.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2021