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What are the reasons behind sudden and increased rainfall in Karachi?

Since last few years, Karachi has received inconsistent and irregular amounts of rainfall.

This year, like last year, Karachi witnessed more than the regular amount of rainfall and the residents of the city think that the city’s weather patterns are returning to normal and it will receive rainfall like other parts of the country.

But does this actually mean that Karachi will also receive similar amount of rainfall like the rest of the country?

This may be exciting for the residents of the city  but this unfortunately is not the case.

Former chief meteorologist Tauseef Alam, when contacted by ARY News, did not appear optimistic and maintained that following reasons may be behind the recent increase in rainfall in Karachi.

Climate change is the main reason

Alam said the main reason is climate change which leads to the intensification of weather patterns and seasons. He said that climate change is rapidly affecting us and every region of the world will be unexpectedly affected by climate change.

“Climate change has completely altered the weather patterns around the world,” said Alam.

“You can experience snowfall and more rainfall in deserts, and hot weather in severely cold climates. Even hot climate areas are facing extremely cold weather. This is all caused by climate change.”

He said that fast-paced development has altered the nature of climate which has yielded unexpected results for us.

Unpredictable weather

Tauseef Alam said that climate change has made the weather completely unreliable, unpredictable and even unable to forecast now.

“It is now difficult to state the type of weather in the city next year, whether it will rain or not, and it will become rather impossible to forecast the weather in the next few years,” said Alam.

This situation is the same in Karachi which is currently experiencing sporadic and intermittent rainfall throughout the week, but experts are unsure whether this will continue next year as well.

‘We cannot say whether the weather in the city will be the same next year. It is likely that there may be even more rainfall in Karachi or rather none at all,” said Alam.

According to him, this applies not just for Karachi but rather the weather around the world.

The effects of El Nino

Mr. Alam says that another reason for the change in weather patterns is the effects of El Nino.

An El Niño is a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific ocean, in the region around the equator. You can see its effects in both the ocean and atmosphere, generally in Northern Hemisphere winter.

It has climatic effects throughout the Pacific region and in many other parts of the world, through global interconnections.

El-Nino not only limits the ability carbon sinks like forests to draw down CO2 from the atmosphere but also trigger huge fires around the globe that injects extra carbon into the air.

 

Which areas receive highest rainfall

It is a commonly held belief even taught in many textbooks that the highest amount of rainfall occurs in coastal areas due to higher evaporation leading to formation of rain-bearing clouds.

However, this is contradicted by experts who state that although increased evaporation occurs near coastal areas but there is no downpour due to low-lying ground and the clouds are eventually dispersed by coastal winds.

Mr. Alam says that higher rainfall occurs in mountainous areas. “As we go higher and higher (towards the mountainous areas) the air pressure slowly and gradually decreases.”

Alam says that mountainous and high-altitude areas have the most rainfall.Apart from that, rain-forests have a large amount of rain such as the Amazon rain-forest in Brazil, which cover one-third of the total rain-forests around the world, and witness 1500-3000mm rainfall per annum.

Coastal areas witness the least amount of rainfall which includes Karachi.

Is nature adapting itself to climate change?

The recent rainfall in Karachi gives an impression that this sudden change is caused by nature. However is it true that the nature is self-organizing and adapting itself to climate change?

Climate change expert Shabina Faraz says the nature’s self-organization in this regard is plausible  but it is not that easy and given the amount of destruction that has already been done, nature’s adaptation in comparison to the destruction is insignificant.

“This adaptation, even if it is in fact taking place, is not being discussed because the sooner nature adapts itself, the next moment there is twice or four times more the level of destruction,” said Shabina.

She said whenever there is an increase in destruction of natural resources on earth then nature undergoes a dangerous ‘surgery’ to heal itself.

“This causes increased storms, higher sea levels which damage  coastlines, and everything that affects nature is destroyed until it ‘heals’ itself to its actual position.

“This will increase forests, weather will improve and the sea will also be within its limits, but then human beings will become extinct.”

Experts are unanimous that it has become difficult rather impossible to forecast the weather of Pakistan including Karachi, and we should be prepared to face the devastating consequences.

Translation by: Kumail Soomro

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