Chhimi Dema

For the past few days, people have been feeling unusual temperature rise.

According to an analysis of the National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM) on the recent heat occurrences, it was observed that the country experienced above normal maximum temperature in the first week of July compared to maximum temperature from the past 25 years.

The temperature in the first week was an average 2.5 degrees Celsius above the normal average temperature of 25.6 degrees Celsius.

The officials said that there was nothing alarming about the recent event.

“It cannot be pointed out that climate change caused the temperature change. It could also be a normal climate variability,” officials said, adding that the warmer climate cannot be the same for the entire country.

Climate phenomena such as Indian Ocean Dipole and El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are suspected to have caused temperature rise in the past few days.

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is the difference in sea surface temperature between two areas, western pole in the Arabian Sea (western Indian Ocean) and eastern pole in the eastern Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia.

Currently, the IOD is in a negative phase, which means that there will be fewer rainfall in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean such as the Bay of Bengal.

A similar climate phenomenon to IOD, ENSO is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

El Nino, a warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, and La Nina, a cooling of the ocean surface in the areas, are the two extreme phases of ENSO.

“The warmer sea-surface temperature, La Nina, is on Australia and Indonesian islands. This is supposed to bring wetter climate and warmer temperature but the India Ocean Dipole, is in negative phase so we experience lesser rain,” the NCHM officials said.

Officials said that the two conditions can be conflicting, one favouring rainfall and the other favouring heat. “With these kinds of variabilities coming into play, we believe that we are experiencing a short hiatus and experiencing a warmer temperature than normal.”

Another factor for rising temperature, according to NCHM officials, could be rainfall deficit the country experienced.

NCHM recorded comparatively less rainfall in the first week of July compared to previous years.

The centre’s report stated that the analysis on the daily precipitation values for July shows that the country has received less rainfall in the past few days as compared to the long-term average.

Monsoon in Bhutan, which happens for four months, is an important phase bringing 70 percent of the country’s water.

The report states: “With the outlook of mostly cloudy weather with light rain, the temperatures are expected to become normal in the next two days.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last year released a report warning increasing heat waves, heavy precipitation, agricultural and ecological droughts, and reductions in the Arctic Sea, snow cover and permafrost.