The world meteorological day is celebrated each year to commemorate the coming into force, on 23 March 1950, of the World Meteorological organization (WMO) convention establishing the world meteorological day. Each year the day is celebrated around a chosen theme. For this year the theme is “weather, climate, and the air we breathe”, by highlighting the impact that weather, climate and the air have on every aspect on our lives.
Bhutan, like many other countries is facing the effect of climate change. Recently there are reports of low production of crops, winds getting stronger every year, shortage of drinking water and rising temperature.
Lately, the World Health Organization and the International Panel on Climate Change data identified risks to human health as a serious signal of the consequences of climate disruption of this planet’s natural processes.
Though Bhutan has no record of death from climate change, around 150,000 deaths now occur in low-income countries each year due to climate change from 4 climate-sensitive health outcomes – crop failure and malnutrition, diarrheal disease, malaria and flooding.
“We have an erratic climate pattern, windstorms, heavy showers or no rains or snow, which greatly affects crop production. With the change in climate, we also have to deal with new kinds of crop pest and diseases,” said Agriculture Minister Pema Gyamtsho.
The prolonged dry spell in the past 6 months is affecting the crop production in the southern foothills of the country. Maize is sown at the beginning of spring, but it has been reported that in Tsirang and Sarpang no one has started sowing the seeds for lack of rain. The scorching heat and lack of rain has made the fields dry and difficult for cultivation. Many farmers fear that they might be the victims of serious drought in the region.
With change in temperature there is increasing number of new environmental threats in the country. Glacial lake outburst flood is posing more danger than ever before to the nation. At present Lake Thorthormi, thrice the size of Lake Lugge that burst in 1994, is the largest and is on the brink of breaching its walls. According to reports the massive ice surrounding Lake Thorthormi is melting at the rate 30-35 meters a year.
As per the community study carried out in Pho Chu Basin under Punakha district, the Samdingkha town under Toewang geog would be the most affected if the lake burst out.
It is widely believed that pollution may be warming the world up. Certain gases trap the sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Rising level of the “greenhouse gases”, such as carbon dioxide, which come from burning oil or forest land, may trap so much heat that the earth could warm up by 4 degree Celsius over the next 50 years.
According to the past temperature statistics from the meteorology section under the department of energy, Bhutan is experiencing radical change in the climate in the past few years. The report shows a steady rise in the temperature over the years.
In 2006, the temperature in some places in Bhutan rose as high as 33.5 degree Celsius. The average maximum temperature was recorded at 21.6 degree Celsius.