Monday, June 17, 2013

Pakistan can expect worse heatwaves to come, meteorologists warn

John Vidal in the Guardian (UK): Near-record temperatures in Pakistan have claimed hundreds of lives and devastated crops in the third major heatwave in four years. But as temperatures on Friday dipped to under 38C (100F), signalling the end of nearly four weeks of blistering heat, leading meteorologists warned that the country could expect longer, more intense and more frequent events in future.

Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, a vice-president of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and former director of Pakistan's Met Office, said the recent extreme summer temperatures that are commonly followed by massive floods could largely be attributed to climatic warming. "If we look at the frequency and the trend of the extreme weather events impacting Pakistan then it is easy to find its link with climate change," he said.

Chaudhry, who wrote Pakistan's climate change policy, authored a report in 2013 that showed the number of heatwaves in Pakistan had increased from 1980 to 2009 and that average temperature in the Indus delta was steadily rising. In 2010, the May temperature in Mohenjo-daro, a semi-ruined city in Sindh province, reached 53.5C (128F), the fourth highest temperature ever recorded in the world and the highest ever in Asia....

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