“This is the fifth article related to the monsoon season of 2012 and it will be followed by many more articles”
“Sleepy way to kick off the monsoon season”
Pakistan is lashed by the rains from July to September from the South-west monsoon. This monsoon reaches Pakistan towards the beginning of July and establishes itself by the middle of the month. The strength of the monsoon current increases from July; it then remains steady, and starts retreating towards the end of August, though occasionally, it continues to be active even in September when some of the highest floods of the Indus Basin have been recorded. After September the monsoon withdraws from the country. But tropical activity could occur before and after the monsoon, mainly in May till June and then in September till October. Certain events like El-Nino, La-Nina, +IOD or -IOD have major effect on the timing and intensity of the monsoon.
In short, the monsoon generally reaches Pakistan during the first week of July while Karachi along with some southern parts of the country gets hit by monsoon by mid of July.
Is Monsoon really advancing into Pakistan?
Monsoon has yet to make its much awaited entrance into Pakistan though the country’s government-owned weather department has declared that pre-monsoon showers have occurred in the northern and central parts of the country during the last week of June but that is not the case, ‘those’ rains were actually a part of westerlies and they occurred during that time when the monsoon was in the intensive care unit. However pre-monsoon activity started in south-eastern Sindh from June 12 and lasted till June 15. Moderate showers occurred in these cities on June 13;
- Mithi got 28 mm.
- Chachro got 24 mm.
- Diplo got 6 mm.
When is monsoon hitting Pakistan?
Monsoon could advance into northern parts of Pakistan during the late first week of July, we could also see some interaction with the westerlies during that time period. In the southern parts, monsoon may reach by second week of July. If the monsoon does hit the country on time as being forecasted by PWP then this would mean that monsoon has advanced normally into Pakistan than India.
Sluggish start to the monsoon
The monsoon did not advance much since June 18 on the western and central parts of the sub-continent while similar was the case on the eastern part that is June 21. The breakdown of monsoon occurred due to the advancement of westerlies and frequent tropical activity in the western Pacific ocean that dragged the moisture from the Bay of Bengal thus causing the collapse of the Arabian sea branch. Two typhoons while one tropical storm caused a dent on the monsoon, these storms were;
- Typhoon Mawar, a category-3 hurricane (May 31 – June 6)
- Typhoon Guchol, a category-4 hurricane (June 10 – June 20)
- Tropical storm Talim (June 16 – June 21)
There has also been a one friendly tropical storm ‘Doksuri’ that formed on June 25 and moved into southern China on June 30, it caused moisture incursion to take place in the Bay of Bengal; leading to the rebirth of the monsoon season.
Biggest opposition to Monsoon
The biggest threat to the monsoon as said by PWP in previous monsoon articles remains from El-Nino. The ENSO conditions had affected the sub-continent 36 times since 1857 and all those years have been observed to experience dull monsoon conditions. Since the start of this year, all-weather bureau point towards the development of El-Nino in either late July or August but it was the Indian Meteorological Department that believed that the monsoon would somehow manage to bring normal rains to the region despite negative conditions but that was in May!
Now IMD has downgraded the rainfall from 99% to 96% keeping the temperature variations of Pacific ocean in mind. Over the years the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasts the onset on monsoon over Kerala, which can be seen from the below data;
|Year||Actual Onset Date||Forecast Onset Date|
|2005||7th June||10th June|
|2006||26th May||30th May|
|2007||28th May||24th May|
|2008||31st May||29th May|
|2009||23rd May||26th May|
|2010||31st May||30th May|
|2011||29th May||1st June|
|2012||4th June||31st May|
It leaves only who? Well! Pakistan National Weather department has alerted all authorities for extreme rains that could bring much deadlier floods than 2010!
Our View on the coming monsoon
Pakistan Weather Portal (PWP) still maintains its monsoon forecast which was issued on April 4, 2012 (Monsoon II), which states that;
“Monsoon 2012 would be near normal to below normal as a whole over the sub-continent but isolated places might experience some above normal rainfall that includes West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Utter Pradesh, Madya Pradesh and parts of Bangladesh. It is likely that monsoon rainfalls may develop rapidly during the onset of the season but as summer progresses further a decrease in the overall coverage of rainfall could occur. August and September, are the two months in which decrease in the rainfall activity is expected. Monsoon might start normally at first later giving way to El-Nino conditions. The north-western parts of India, northern Pakistan and Sri Lanka might also experience below normal rainfall but changing atmospheric condition would cause an increase in the activity of westerlies over these areas. Southern parts of Pakistan, Indian state of Gujarat and other surrounding areas are also expected to experience less than normal downpours. However an event of isolated flash flooding/urban flooding (happens every year) can never be ruled out.”
We forecasted – it happened!
As forecasted by PWP on April 4 (two months ago), above normal rainfall occurred in Assam and parts of Bangladesh. On June 27 at least 110 people died in the southern parts of Bangladesh due to the worst rain in years. In the second largest city of Chittagong the rain touched 463 mm mark. Just across the border Assam experienced one of its worst flooding since 1998 that killed some 27 people while displacing as many as 1 million people.
In the end – All stages are set!
No matter who proves to be right in the end, one thing is clear that monsoon would face harsh opposition from El-Nino during the last months of monsoon season. But there is also a ray of hope as there are chances that Pakistan could experience slightly better precipitation than India as its season would end before El-Nino makes a major come back in India. However make no mistake that this year rainy activity would be less than 2010 and 2011. So keep your fingers crossed, umbrella ready, emergency, help line, generators handy to avoid any uncertain incident, as monsoon is just around the corner!
Monsoon Special articles for 2012
You can read special monsoon article by Pakistan Weather Portal (PWP), here;
- Let it be La-Nina or maybe El-Nino? – Part I
- Monsoon 2012 – What will happen in Pakistan? – Part II
- Pollute the Arabian sea for stronger Hurricanes before the Monsoon season! – Part III
- Total collapse of Monsoon expected in July? – Part IV
- Monsoon advancing into Pakistan: All stages set! – Part V
- El-Nino comeback: Monsoon collapses, Pakistan going into drought! – Part VI
TO BE CONTINUED……