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May 2023 declared 2nd wettest month in 63 years

By Ali Raza
June 04, 2023

LAHORE : Climate change continued to affect the weather patterns of the country as May 2023 has become the 2nd wettest May during the past 63 years with an excessive above average (+127%) rainfall across the country. Climate experts said the change in weather patterns would put adverse effects on the country’s agriculture resulting into a serious threat of food security.Dr Zaigham Habib, a renowned hydrologist said the main reason behind the change in weather patterns was warming of seas and melting of snow at the glaciers, which has increased vaporization across the globe.

“We already have less water in rivers and more rains in catchment areas”, she said and predicted that Punjab may soon see a drastic cut in its river water coming from India. “Late snow melting may also cause flash floods in the country,” she warned and said the government’s approach was to manage a disaster whereas it should be averting a disaster.

Dr Habib further said that most of the coastal areas of the world were witnessing excess rains. Disasters occurred once in a blue moon but when it started occurring every year it was not called a disaster, she said.Data collected from Met office revealed that the wettest day of the month in the country was May 5 when Hafizabad (Punjab) recorded 80 mm rainfall, whereas Malam Jabba (KP) was the wettest place with monthly total rainfall of 185 mm. The data showed that climatologically, the May rainfall contribution to the annual national total and to the Pre-Monsoon was 26.6% and 5.0%, respectively. The situation was more or less similar on regional scale too i.e., the extremely above-average rainfall occurred in Punjab with 58.20 mm/+273% and ranked as the wettest ever May during past 63 years (record being 43.30 mm in 1987).

Balochistan witnessed 21.30 mm/+255.60% (record being 27.30 mm in 1987), Sindh witnessed 13.10 mm/+348% (record being 58.70 mm in 1999), AJK witnessed 80.50mm/+33%, KP witnessed 58.20 mm/+34% and GB witnessed 14.00 mm/-49% witnessed largely below-average rainfall.

The other significant monthly total rains recorded at Bahawalnagar (a desert place) 125 mm, Murree 117 mm, Sialkot A/P 99.5 mm, Hafizabad 152.8 mm, Garhi Dupatta 110.7 mm, Muzaffarabad Airport 130.9 mm, Muzaffarabad City 117.6 mm, Rawalakot 131.6 mm, Balakot 126 mm, Kakul 163 mm, Malam Jabba 185 mm, Saidu Sharif 130 mm, and Barkhan 96 mm while the stations at Thatta, Gawadar, Jiwani, Panjgur and Pasni remained absolutely dry with no rain during the month and Badin, Nokkundi and Sibbi recorded traces of rainfall during the month.

The data showed that the national mean monthly temperature of May 2023 for Pakistan was 28.23°C, being -0.71°C cooler than average of 28.94°C. Daytime (maximum) temperature at country-level was 35.28°C, being -0.98°C cooler than the country-average of 36.26°C while the nighttime (minimum) temperature saw no departure (21.12°C) from the country-average of 21.12°C.

The hottest day of the month was witnessed at Jacobabad (Sindh) when it recorded 49°C temperature on May 21, 2023, whereas Shaheed Benazirabad being the warmest place with 42.7°C mean monthly maximum temperature. MET office data further showed that the coldest temperature (0.0°C) of the month was recorded at Kalam (KP) on May 8, 2023, whereas same being the coolest place with 4.4°C in mean monthly minimum temperature.

The situation was more or less similar on a regional scale too; i.e. KP with 23.67°C (-1.39°C), Sindh 32.87°C (-0.33°C), AJK 19.90°C (-1.28°C), Punjab 29.55°C (-1.92°C) and GB with 18.04°C (-0.62°C) all recorded cooler than average temperatures. The Balochistan was the only region with 29.19°C (+0.03°C) that exhibited slightly warmer than average temperature.

Climate experts said the Met office’s data showed that the mean temperature anomalies ranged in -4.0 to +3.5°C in the country while the Mean maximum temperature anomalies were -4.5 to +1.3°C in the country being considerably higher in northern parts of Pakistan and Eastern Balochistan.

The hottest day of the month was at recorded at Jacobabad (Sindh) when it recorded 49°C temperature on May 21, while Shaheed Benazirabad (Sindh) proved to be the warmest place with 42.7°C average maximum temperature during the month. Kalam (KP) recorded the month’s coldest night temperature of 0.0°C on May 8 and incidentally has been the coolest place with 4.4°C average minimum temperature.

Meanwhile, on Saturday Met office said that continental air was prevailing over most parts of the country. They predicted that hot and dry weather was expected in most parts of the country while very hot in southern parts. However, rain-wind-thunderstorm was likely in south Punjab, northeast Balochistan, Kashmir and its adjoining areas.Saturday’s highest maximum temperature was recorded at Turbat where mercury reached 45°C while in Lahore it was 35.5°C and minimum was 21.4°C.