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Published Date: Mar 14, 2016

Heatwave likely to hit urban areas this year

ISLAMABAD: As the meteorological fallout from El Nino continues to affect the region, experts have warned that the coming summer could bring even more freak weather phenomenon, such as extreme heatwaves.
Dr Fahad Saeed, who leads the Environment and Climate Change Unit at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, told Dawn that as a developing country, Pakistan was susceptible to the ‘urban heat island’ effect.
This phenomenon refers to cities or metropolitan areas that are significantly warmer than their surrounding rural areas due to human activities, such industrial and commercial functions.
Dr Saeed’s research suggests that due to the El Nino and the weather changes it brings, freak heatwaves will become more and more frequent in Pakistan.
The heatwave of 2015, which claimed scores of lives and led to water and power shortages across the country, was part of this cycle.
According to a policy brief, recently published by Dr Saeed: “Considering a high population density in the Punjab, this alarming increase in heatwaves will pose a serious concern not only for the far future but also for the near future… densely populated cities like Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Gujranwala, Sargodha, and Sialkot are all located in this region, which are more susceptible to the negative impact of heatwaves.”