More monsoon rain likely in Bangladesh this year

A rickshaw puller enjoys rain during monsoon in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 8 September 2022.Reuters file photo

Meteorologists from South Asian countries are attending the 28th session of the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum.

The conference started Monday where the meteorologists have discussed the extreme heat waves in the region this summer.

However, the main topic of discussion was the upcoming monsoon season (June-September).

In the conference, the top meteorologists of the region presented a preliminary opinion on the forecast of the weather for the coming months. They said this monsoon may see more rain than the usual. In Bangladesh, there will be more monsoon rains than usual this year.

There is a possibility of more rains in the Indian states upstream of Bangladesh also. As a result, there is a danger of worsening the flood situation in Bangladesh during the monsoon.

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The climate experts reached a conclusion through discussion that the ongoing ‘El Nino’ has weakened and ‘La Nina’ has activated. It means rain is likely in the region very soon.

The experts have blamed the special weather condition named ‘El Nino’ behind the ongoing extreme heat waves like the past two years. A dry streak stretching from the Indian Ocean to Bay of Bengal pops up when El Nino becomes active. The opposite is La Nina. During its formation the dry streak becomes a warm streak. This increases water vapour in the air and increases rain in different parts of the world.

In a statement following the conference, the Indian meteorologists say monsoon rain in most of the South Asian countries, including Bangladesh will be stronger. There will be more rain than usual in areas of Bangladesh under extreme heat waves. Sylhet and Chattogram didn’t experience that much heat wave. So there will be less rain in these two districts, according to the meteorologists.

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Meteorologist Bajlur Rashid of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) took part in the conference in India. Speaking to Prothom Alo over the phone, he said, “The upcoming monsoon season was the main topic of the conference. Analysing the data and other relevant information, they have come to a conclusion that there will be more rain than usual during monsoon.

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The meteorologists at the conference said the Indian states upstream of Bangladesh – Assam, Meghalaya and West Bengal are likely to experience more rain during the monsoon. The water from that rain is likely to flow over Bangladesh and will end up in the Bay of Bengal which may lead to severe flooding in the northern and central part of Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the Flood Forecast and Warning Centre has predicted a flood in the first week of May. The flood forecast said rain will start in the entire Sylhet district within the next seven days. However, it won’t last long.

The BMD predicts rain in parts of the country on 2 May. But it will take more time to rain in other parts of the country. The residents of the capital will have to wait for a few more days for rain. After that the city dwellers may suffer due to waterlogging as a result of heavy rain.

Speaking regarding this, professor Rashed Chowdhury of the Arizona University said, “The El Nino was quite strong over the last few years. It is a big reason behind the severe heat wave. Meanwhile, La Nina leads to excessive rain in Bangladesh.”

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He further said, “We saw a similar situation in 1997 and 1998. The people of Bangladesh experienced severe heat waves over a long period in 1997 due to El Nino. The country witnessed the biggest flood in its history the next year.”

Professor Rashed Chowdhury said, “However, it is not yet certain as to what will happen to Bangladesh this year. However, the relevant authorities should be cautious.”

 *This report appeared on the print and online versions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ashish Basu