The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Water resources of Afghanistan and related hazards under rapid climate warming

Part IV

Lack of availability and accessibility of climate data in Afghanistan have limited local-scale determination of climate change, although more recently data from individual weather stations is becoming increasingly available. The Government of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water has recently established a Hydro-Meteorological Data Centre that can be accessed by researchers (see this article’s Data availability statement). To further understand sub-regional differences, we have compared ground-observed precipitation and temperature data for four stations originating from the Afghanistan Meteorological Department for 1964–1977 and 2007– 2018. Data are calculated seasonally based on monthly means for each period; we were not, however, able to perform a proper trend analysis due to data gaps. Changes in temperature were assessed through individual meteorological stations for the earlier (1964–1977) and more recen (2007–2018) periods of data availability shows that mean temperature has increased for all seasons and for all stations. There is also an increase for all minimum mean temperatures (minimum of longterm mean monthly temperature) by season, except for winter at Faizabad in the far north, where there has been a small decrease. The minimum mean winter temperature at Gardez, located at a lower elevation and in the east, has increased only slightly. The maximum mean winter (maximum of long-term mean monthly temperature) temperature has increased for all stations although there is substantial inter-station variability for all seasons. Perhaps the station that differs most clearly from the others, notably in temperature, is Faizabad. Particularly in winter, it has a reduced increase in mean temperature, and no significant change in the minimum and maximum temperatures. Thus, whilst there has been a shift towards warmer temperatures in most years, the minimum mean and maximum mean temperatures have changed less. It is still possible to have cold years, but they are less frequent; and the increase in mean temperature is more a reflection of a general increase across most years rather than an increase in temperature in warm years. Such interstation variability may be due to local or regional climate characteristics; Faizabad is located to the north of the main Afghan mountain ranges, in a Mediterranean continental climate according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification; whilst the other three stations are in desert or semi-arid climate zones. The national- and regionalscale observations reported above of increases in temperature in autumn, winter and spring which will have important implications for precipitation that falls as snow, and hence for snow and ice accumulation. Precipitation changes vary between seasons and stations. There is a tendency for increases in summer and autumn precipitation for all stations, albeit very variable in magnitude, as also confirmed by national-scale studies NEPA and UNEP. Additionally, three out of four stations show decreases in winter and spring precipitation aligned with national-scale studies. However, Faizabad in northern and Gardez in eastern Afghanistan also showed increases in winter and spring precipitation, respectively. With only four stations, explaining these patterns needs some care. A much more indepth analysis of a larger number of sites is needed to quantify and explain such differences. The precipitation changes for Gardez are markedly higher than those for other stations, despite its location in the east of the country where it is subject to monsoonal airflows associated with the ITCZ. The presence of very steep local precipitation gradients emphasizes the difficulty of generalizing precipitation changes regionally for Afghanistan. From: Hydrological Sciences Journal

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.