KARACHI: The Meteorological department’s recently released data showed that the country received 24 per cent below average rainfall from July to August with many stations in Sindh and Balochistan regions not even reporting a single drop of rain in the whole month of August.
Prolonged dry conditions might affect standing crops in certain districts, it said.
According to the data, the current monsoon season rainfall was set from July 5, 2021 over Pakistan, which was delayed by five days on its normal date (July 1). Notably, significant continuous rainfall occurred from July 10 onwards and the national rainfall for July was close to normal (+4 per cent).
There was, however, a significant deficiency of rainfall over Sindh (-47 per cent).
Many parts of Sindh and Balochistan remained completely dry during August
In August, there was considerable reduction of rainfall over the country and the national rainfall was 62pc below its normal value. All regions/provinces recorded below average rainfall during this month.
Many Pakistan Meteorological Department stations in Sindh and Balochistan regions reported not even a single drop of rain in the whole month.
“It seems to be a continuation of the drought conditions reported a few months back. The affect was more on the drought-prone districts of eastern Sindh. However, the ongoing rainy spell may improve the situation in these districts,” said Sardar Sarfaraz representing the Met department, adding prolonged dry weather conditions also prevailed in western south-west Balochistan.
According to Mr Sarfaraz, there has been an overall rainfall deficiency given the historical record with July being the wettest and August the second wettest month across the country.
“We hope the coming monsoon spell expected from Sept 8 onwards would be good enough for the entire country and cause rain from the north to the south.”
Climate change at work?
Asked how climate change factors in this weather pattern, he said though it’s difficult to make an analysis on an individual event, climate change had “shattered set weather patterns” and a clear shift was being seen from historical weather patterns.
According to the seasonal agro-climate outlook for August-October 2021 prepared by the department, upper Sindh is expected to have almost dry weather during the entire period. Besides sugar cane, rice is the major crop in the area which is at initial stages and would be affected by dry weather conditions.
Lower Sindh may receive two to three spells of light to moderate rainfall in the first week of September. “Kharif crops like cotton, sugar cane etc in this area are well ahead in comparison to the rest of the country. Therefore, due to the prolonged dry conditions the standing crops would be affected in the region,” it said.
About the impact of reduced rainfall in Sindh, Mehmood Nawaz of Sindh Abadgar Board said there was more a problem of water distribution than reduced rainfall in the country right now as Sindh’s share had been cut significantly.
“Having said that, low rainfall in the country would have an impact on agriculture. For that, I believe we need to focus on water-efficient technologies and strategies to reduce high water losses.”
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2021