Latest weather, Climate science news and information

Month: March 2021

Unusual wavy clouds create stunning Rawalpindi/Islamabad skies

The following picture is a beautiful example of Altocumulus clouds in Rawalpindi on March 7, 2021 morning. This special kind of Altocumulus clouds could also be described as Altocumulus Undulatus, due to its wavy parallel bands. Could someone provide the name of these clouds in Urdu? and you are welcome to send in your cloud photos in comments.

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How Current Drought Situation occurs ?

As predicted by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), the country overall received below normal (-31.0%) rainfall during (Oct-20 to Jan-21). The main thrust was in Balochistan (-73.2%) and Sindh (- 70.2%) while, it remained above normal during November throughout the country.

The most districts of west to south west Balochistan are winter rainfall dominant and rainfall amount lies between 71 to 231mm. Due to deficient winter rainfall, moderate drought like condition has emerged over most of the central and southern districts of Balochistan (Fig-1). The mild to moderate drought is prevailing in most parts of Balochistan (Chagi, Gawadar, Harnai, Kech, Kharan, Mastung Nushki, Pishin, Panjgur, Kalat, Quetta and Washuk). According to the climatological normal (1981-2010), Sindh province remains dry during October to May, whereas, the rainy season prevails from June to September. The mild drought conditions are prevailing in south eastern parts of Sindh (Fig-2). 3. Keeping in view the climatology and current seasonal forecast of PMD for these areas, drought conditions may exacerbate and affect the agriculture and live stocks and its adjacent districts. Dry conditions will cause water stress in the cultivated lands/areas of the country due to limited supply of irrigation water for Rabi crops. 4. It is advised to all stakeholders to take pre-emptive measures for disaster prone districts. Farmers/agriculturists are advised to keep themselves updated from PMD website http://www.pmd.gov.pk. 5. NDMC is continuously monitoring drought situation over the country and keeping the stakeholders and general public updated by issuing drought information on fortnightly and monthly basis.

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Is Shishper Glacier Surge Vulnerable ?

Glacier Monitoring Group at Research and Development Division, PMD is regularly monitoring Shishper glacier surge and resultantly developed lake at Hassanabad, Hunza, Gilgit –Baltistan. The Karakoram mountain range is dominated by surging glacier. At times, surging glaciers intercept its water or of surrounding glacier and facilitates formation of glacier dammed lake that may suddenly outburst and result in Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding (GLOF). GLOF may release millions of cubic meters of water stored in the lake that may affect downstream infrastructure up to hundreds of kilometers. Shishper glacier situated at Hassanabad, Hunza is a surging glacier that intercepted glacier-meltwater from its neighboring glacier named Muchuhur and facilitated the formation of a glacial lake that is at risk to GLOF in coming months. Previously two GLOF events were occurred on June 23, 2019 and May 29, 2020, when Shishper glacier dammed lake was outburst with peak discharges of 5000 and 2900-3500 cusecs respectively that damaged Karakoram Highway (KKH) near Hassanabad by eroding road, and road traffic was hauled for few days. This brief report details the background of Shishper glacier surge and its dynamics as analyzed by hydro-meteorological data and satellite imagery, moreover, the mitigation strategy is detailed and a future way forward is provided for policy makers.

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