Southern parts of Pakistan have received Heaviest Rains of 159 per cent above normal rainfall so far in the ongoing monsoon system

Southern parts of Pakistan have received Heaviest Rains of 159 per cent above normal rainfall so far in the ongoing monsoon system, while in the month of August alone, the Sindh province received 247.8 millimetres of rain, which is 362 per cent above normal and a clear manifestation of extreme events linked to climate change, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said on Thursday.

Karachi received the bulk of the rains in Sindh where the Faisal Base and Surjani Town areas received over 28 inches of rain (Faisal Base 736 millimetres, Surjani 721mm) in July and August, PMD officials said, adding that Karachi received the heaviest rains of its recorded history, which were “extreme high”.

According to the PMD, Faisal Base received 736mm of rain in the current monsoon season, including 588mm in August alone, Surjani Town 721mm, including 604mm in August, Gulshan-e-Hadeed 659mm, Nazimabad 570mm, Saddar, 559mm, North Karachi 532mm, Landhi 498mm, Masroor Base 489mm, University Road 471mm, airport 468mm, Keamari 399 and Jinnah Terminal received 364mm this season.

“The unprecedented rains in Sindh, especially in Karachi are a clear manifestation of climate change, as during the current monsoon system, 50 per cent of the rain-causing system headed towards southern parts of Pakistan and caused extremely high rains from July 1 to August 31, 2020. Usually 20 per cent of the monsoonal systems move towards the south of Pakistan, and the remaining 80 per cent move to northern areas of the country,” said Dr Khalid Malik, a senior meteorologist associated with the PMD, while talking to The News on Thursday.

Dr Khalid Malik, who has recently been designated as the spokesperson of the PMD, maintained that extreme weather events including the heaviest rain in 12 hours in cities like Karachi, above 700mm in this monsoon season. He said back-to-back systems moving towards southern Pakistan, including Karachi, showed that this region was facing the impacts of climate change, which was resulting in extreme weather events.

“Exceptionally heavy rains in a short period of time, droughts, heatwaves and other extreme events are the manifestation of climate change and we have been experiencing these events in Pakistan in the recent years,” Dr Malik said but defended the PMD on its abilities to forecast weather events.

He said they timely issued weather advisories and forecasts, most of which materialised and helped the authorities in taking appropriate administrative measures.

“As far as the 235 millimetres of rain in Karachi in 12 hours on August 27 is concerned, it was a very rare event when two weather systems combined over Karachi and caused unprecedented showers in a short span. Actually, a low pressure area or monsoonal system interacted with a westerly cold wave and their combination caused a historic spell of rain in Karachi.”

The PMD official said Pakistan had received 35 per cent above normal rainfall till August 31, 2020, against their prediction of 20 per cent above rainfall in the country, but he added that sometimes, predictions did not materialise in the world of meteorology, and that was why it was called “science of probability”.

Senior meteorologists have warned of more extreme weather events in Sindh and Balochistan in the years to come, as the temperature of the Arabian Sea is constantly on the rise and they fear that the frequency of cyclone formation in the Arabian Sea, development of low pressure areas and depressions would increase and heavily impact the coastal areas of both the provinces.

To a query, Dr Malik said a weather radar acquired by the PMD for Karachi would become operational before the end of this year. He added that after becoming operational, this radar would help them in helping “nowcasting” or short-range forecasts about rains, winds, clouds and other weather parameters.

“The radar in Karachi is in the process of getting tested and calibrated. As soon as it is handed over to us by the operator, we would start using it for forecasts,” he said, adding that these types of radars helped in making 7-8 hours of forecasts.

The article is originally published at The News.