UN calls rising temperature ‘main concern’ for South Asia
ISLAMABAD: A United Nations commission has estimated that the intersection of aridity with projected temperature increase will cause areas of concern for heat waves to increase in South and Southwest Asia with the onset distinct hotspots, and the current heat waves in Pakistan and India are those hotspots.
The pre-monsoon period in South Asia is usually marked by excessively high temperatures, particularly in May, but early heat waves like this signal complex, compounding and cascading risks, according to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) .
Pakistan was in the throes of a heat wave on Friday, with parts of the country previously scorched by temperatures near 50 degrees Celsius as officials warned of severe water shortages and a health threat.
Scientists believe the early heat waves are a consequence of persistent north-south low pressure patterns that form over India during winters when a La Niña phenomenon occurs in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
Major cities record temperatures above 40 degrees, Jacobabad hits 50
In its Sixth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Sixth Assessment Report, points out that heat waves and damp heat stress in South Asia should be more intense and more frequent during this century.
A recent study highlights that India is the worst affected country with the highest heat exposure on the country’s labor productivity. It loses in labor productivity more than 100 billion hours per year while the overall sum is 220 billion.
“It’s like a fire burning all around,” worker Shafi Mohammad told AFP. He is from a village on the outskirts of Jacobabad, which experienced 49.5 degrees Celsius on Friday, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
Across the country, the PMD warned that temperatures were between 6°C and 9°C above normal, with Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar recording temperatures around 40°C on Friday.
“This year we have moved from winter to summer,” said PMD chief forecaster Zaheer Ahmad Babar.
Pakistan has been experiencing increased heat waves since 2015, he said. “The intensity increases, and the duration increases, and the frequency increases,” he told AFP.
Posted in Dawn, May 14, 2022