Meteorological data over the last 6 years show that Bhutan is becoming warmer.
The nationwide data maintained by meteorology section of the Department of Energy (DoE) show an annual increase in temperature and rainfall. They show that, in the last 6 years, there has been an increasing trend in erratic precipitation and monsoon patterns across the country.
Weather forecast records throughout the country confirm climate change in Bhutan.
In the south, the maximum average temperature in Bhur, Sarpang, has risen from 27.08 degree Celsius in 2003 to 28.49 degree Celsius in 2008. In six years, Bhur has become warmer by 1.41 degree Celsius. The average minimum temperature, which was 17.8 degree Celsius in 2003, has shot up by 0.875 degree Celsius in 2008.
Over the past six years, Sarpang has recorded a rise in the volume of rainfall. In 2003, the dzongkhag received 1127 mm of rain which increased to 2422 mm in 2008.
In the central part of the country, Bumthang has seen an increase in both average maximum and minimum temperatures in the last 6 years. Its average high increased from 17.03 degree Celsius to 17.66 degree Celsius and average low increased from 6.28 degree Celsius to 6.61 degree Celsius. On average, Bumthang too has experienced more rainfall over the years.
In the east, Trashigang recorded an increase of 0.89 degree Celsius in its maximum average temperature and 0.20 degree Celsius in its average minimum temperature with an increase of rainfall by 65 mm over 6 years.
In the western region, Thimphu recorded an inpcrease in both average maximum temperature and average minimum temperature along with an average increase in rainfall.
The time for snowfall in Thimphu has elapsed so it will not snow this year, according to the meteorology section.
The head of the section, Kinzang Sonam, said, “Neither the satellite pictures nor the data on wind direction, cloud density, humidity and temperature indicate the possibility of snow in Thimphu this year.”
Thimphu recorded an average maximum temperature of 20.35 degree Celsius in 2003 compared to 20.95 degree Celsius in 2008. The average minimum temperature of the dzongkhag also rose by 0.55 degree Celsius from 7.43 degree Celsius in 2003 to 7.98 degree Celsius in 2008. The capital also recorded a consistent increase in the volume of rainfall between 2003 and 2008.
Dasho Nado Rinchen, the Deputy Minister of the National Environment Commission (NEC), said, “Although countries like Bhutan contribute the least to global warming, they will be seriously affected by the impacts of climate change.”
According to Thinley Namgyal, the Project Manager for climate change at the NEC, “Our roads and other important infrastructure will suffer damages from landslides and flashfloods caused by climate change. Furthermore, the rapid melting of glaciers will dramatically increase the risk of glacial lake outburst floods besides affecting the base flow of our rivers.”
Farmers, who make up 79 percent of the population, will be directly affected by temperature changes and unpredictable monsoon patterns.
Thinley Wangchuk, a data analyst and a technician at the meteorological section, said, “Climate change such as increasing temperatures and changes in weather patterns may have been caused by increasing human population.”
Although population density at 12 persons per square kilometre is the lowest in south Asia, the growth rate of 2.53 percent is among the highest in the world.