Rainfall and temperature rising in Bhutan

Coinciding with the World Meteorology Day, four climate, weather, and cryosphere related reports were launched on March 23

Choki Wangmo

Last year, Punakha recorded the highest daily maximum temperature at 37.5°C.  At the same time, Haa recorded the lowest daily minimum temperature at -12.0°C.

This is according to Bhutan State of Climate (BSC) 2020.  BSC, published by the National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology (NCHM), is an annual climate monitoring report that provides a summary of observations of the country’s climate each year.

The report says that Haa experienced a greater number of days (127) with the minimum temperature below or equal to zero.  Compared with 2019, the minimum temperature was recorded in Bumthang at 4.5 ˚C.

Last year, the annual average maximum temperature in the country was 22°C and minimum temperature was 11.8°C.

2020 was one of the warmest years on record globally.  According to NCHM, the country received near to normal average temperature compared with the long-term average from 1996 to 2019.

Meteorology stations in Sipsu, Phuentsholing, Punakha, Bajo, Bhur, and Tagmachu recorded higher annual average maximum temperature.  Haa, Gasa, and Paro stations recorded lower annual average maximum temperature.

However, the analysis of 21-year data from 1996 to 2017, collected from 15 weather stations, indicate an increasing temperature trend in the country.

Climate projection for surface temperature in Bhutan indicates the possibility of increase of about 0.8°C to 1.6°C between 2021 and 2050 and about 1.6°C to 2.8°C by the end of this century.

 

Rainfall

Like in 2018, Gasa experienced the highest number of rainy days—214 days.  Bhur received the highest annual rainfall of 7,220.3 millimetres (mm), followed by Sipsoo at 6,324.2mm.

The highest 24-hour rainfall was also recorded in Bhur, which was measured at 512.1mm.

In general, the country received near-normal to slightly above-normal rainfall in 2020.  From July to September, most of the stations received slightly above the normal rainfall against the long-term average 1996-2019.

The southern belt of the country received more rainfall compared with other regions.

The analysis of rainfall data from 1996 to 2017 revealed that there was marginal decrease in the trend of rainfall in Bhutan.  NCHM projections, however, indicate that the mean annual rainfall over Bhutan could increase in the future.  “Under the RCP 4.5 scenario, the mean annual rainfall over Bhutan indicates an increase of about 10-30 percent on the mean annual scale.”

Coinciding with the World Meteorological Day, NCHM launched four reports related to cryosphere, water, and weather and climate on March 23.

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