With the mercury topping 36.5 degrees Celsius on Saturday, Karachi witnessed it the hottest day of the month in over two decades, the Met office said on Sunday.
The heat wave is expected to continue till Monday or Tuesday after which temperatures will gradually dwindle down, officials say. The reason for other day’s unprecedented heat was a “disconnect of sea breeze towards Karachi,” said Pakistan Meteorological Department Director General Dr Ghulam Rasool.
Wind blowing from the “land surface towards the sea” instead of the other way round, bringing humidity levels down to around 30 per cent is responsible for the rise in temperature, he said.
The breeze will shift direction around Sunday evening, the DG Met said, adding that temperatures would return to normal by Tuesday, falling to around 32 degrees. A scorching heat wave engulfed Sindh at the beginning of summer last year, claiming the lives of over 1,300 people – with most of the deaths taking place in Karachi. The crisis was worsened by the faulty power grid and shortage of potable water in the metropolis.
Experts said that last year the wave of high temperatures could also be attributed to the increasing concrete cover and an acute lack of parks and green belts in the city as such spaces, they said, help lower the temperature of an area.
“The heat wave disaster is a wake-up call for the public and the government. There is need to create awareness on how to cope with severe hot weather and help high-risk populations protect themselves against it,” said Rab Nawaz, serving as Sindh Regional Director of World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P).
The impact of climate change, especially a rise in temperature, he said, had become very apparent in Pakistan over the last decade and the current situation in Sindh, especially Karachi is worrisome.
According to these experts, the recent wave of high temperatures can also be attributed to the increasing concrete cover and an acute lack of parks and green belts in the city as such spaces, they say, help lower the temperature of an area. Dr Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, senior climate change expert last year said that the government could learn from other countries that faced similar disasters. “A good example in this regard is Ahmedabad, India, though its plan to protect poor communities from the heat wave was not implemented in other parts of the country,” he said. The plan came into effect in the Indian state after around 1,300 people died as a result of heat wave in 2010.