LAHORE -  Above average temperature has brought April like feelings in March, heralding onset of a harsher and prolonged summer this year.

The prevailing weather pattern suggests the conditions will only become harsher in coming days due to positioning of Sun and lack of significant rains.

“Temperature in March is like that in April. The prevailing trend can continue and as such summer will be harsher and prolonged,” said meteorological expert Shaukat Ali Awan, adding that the conditions were rare but not unusual.

“Such things happen after 10-15 years. It doesn’t mean that the same weather pattern will persist next year. Such variations were seen in the past and it would continue to happen in future. But these variations are rare but not unusual. Nature usually compensates harsher summer with cooler winter to maintain balance. Usually hotter summer is followed by strong monsoon. Hopefully, this will also happen this year,” he told The Nation.

“Summer like conditions in spring is not a good omen for crops like wheat as early ripening due to high temperature will decrease yield. Early summer, however, is good for groundnut. High temperature for a longer period will increase snowmelt and improve inflow at major reservoirs.

“Harsher summer can also increase intensity of monsoon that will improve inflow at reservoirs already reached to dead level due to unwise use of available water for electricity generation. These reservoirs are meant for ensuring availability of water for irrigation purposes when there is no rain.”

Electricity generation is additional benefit, Awan said, but unfortunately these reservoirs are taken to dead level by increasing outflow for power generation when water was not needed for irrigation purposes.

He added that persistence of peak summer for a prolonged period would be a good omen for under stress reservoirs as inflow would increase due to excessive snowmelt.

Giving reasons behind steady increase in temperature in urban areas like Lahore, Shaukat Awan stated that man made modification in nature has made the life of people miserable.

“Cutting of trees on a large scale for development purposes, removing green cover for asphalt and concrete structures and ever increasing emissions from moving (vehicular) and stationary (factories) sources has increased heat island affect.

“We feel more heat in cities like Lahore than in rural areas and suburb due to undue human intervention,” he explained while highlighting the need of maintaining a balance between development and nature to minimise heat island affect.

“There is also a need of avoiding unnecessary tree cutting and carrying out large scale new plantation to minimise heat island affect.”