What weather!

Bangladesh's climate change

By Mostafa Kamal Majumdar
Published: Sunday 31 July 2005

bangladesh has been witnessing abnormal weather conditions for some time now, a trend that many experts attribute to global warming. The pattern was marked by the country's most delayed monsoon rains in 33 years -- monsoon winds engulfed Bangladesh only by June 20 in 2005, against its usual time of first week of June. All this while, the weather was extremely sultry and uncomfortable: high temperature and high humidity ranging from 70 to 80 per cent. The difference between minimum (average 29c) and maximum (average 35c) temperatures was minimal. Cases of dehydration, metabolic disorders, high viral fever and flu soared, especially in congested urban centres.

Unusually, the monsoon hasn't produced much rains.Akram Hussain, director of Bangladesh Meteorological Department (bmd), says : " Pre-monsoon storms were a month earlier; the winter was brief with a minimum temperature higher than normal. Rainfall for most of the year was also below average...these adverse impacts are plausibly due to global warming; the temperature is gradually rising." Arjumand Habib, a bmd weather forecaster, explains that dry westerly disturbances continued to dominate during the summer: they blocked the seasonal heat low over Bangladesh and adjoining areas, and Southwest Monsoon winds from the Bay of Bengal to Bangladesh. The seasonal heat low attracts bay winds from the south. Habib terms the pattern abnormal, but also adds that it has been experienced in the past.

Prior to the rains, the harsher and unusually long summer claimed at least 30 lives. Sowing was delayed and the yield of standing crops and fruits decreased. On June 2, 2005, mercury rose to a maximum of 43c, 7.3 c above normal, a 47-year record, at Chuadanga, near Bangladesh's western border with India. Earlier, the winter had recorded a lowest minimum of 7 c , against its average minimum of 4 c.

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