Climate of Pakistan

Climate of Pakistan
Dust storm over Pakistan and surrounding countries, April 7, 2005

Pakistan lies in the temperate zone. The climate is generally varied throughout the country, characterized by hot summers and cool or cold winters. The upper parts of Pakistan usually receive precipitation from the Western Disturbance. From June till September most of the country is lashed by the South West Monsoon.

Pakistan has recorded one of the highest temperatures in the world, Mohenjo-daroo, Sindh, 53.5 °C (128.3 °F) on 26 May, 2010 it is not only the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan, but also the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded in the continent of Asia.[1][2] As Pakistan is located on a great landmass north of the tropic of Cancer (between latitudes 24° and 37° N), it has a continental type of climate characterized by extreme variations of temperature, both seasonally and daily. Very high altitudes modify the climate in the cold, snow-covered northern mountains; temperatures on the Balochistan Plateau are somewhat higher. Along the coastal strip, the climate is modified by sea breezes. In the rest of the country, temperatures reach great heights in the summer; the mean temperature during June is 38 °C (100 °F) in the plains, the highest temperatures can exceed 47 °C (117 °F). In the summer, hot winds called Loo (wind) blow across the plains during the day. Trees shed their leaves to avoid loss of moisture. The dry, hot weather is broken occasionally by dust storms and thunderstorms that temporarily lower the temperature. Evenings are cool; the diurnal variation in temperature may be as much as 11 °C (52 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). Winters are cold, with minimum mean temperatures in Punjab of about 4 °C (39 °F) in January, and sub-zero temperatures in the far north and Balochistan.



The monsoon and the Western Disturbance are the two main factors which alter the weather over Pakistan; otherwise, Continental air prevails for rest of the year. Following are the main factors that influence the weather over Pakistan.

  • Western Disturbances mostly occur during the winter months and cause light to moderate showers in southern parts of the country while moderate to heavy showers with heavy snowfall in the northern parts of the country. These westerly waves are robbed of most of the moisture by the time they reach Pakistan.
  • Fog occurs during the winter season and remains for weeks in upper Sindh, central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
  • Southwest Monsoon occurs in summer from the month of June till September in almost whole Pakistan excluding western Balochistan, FATA, Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. Monsoon rains bring much awaited relief from the scorching summer heat. These monsoon rains are quite heavy by nature and can cause significant flooding, even severe flooding if they interact with westerly waves in the upper parts of the country.
  • Tropical Storms usually form during the summer months from late April till June and then from late September till November. They affect the coastal localities of the country.
  • Dust storms occur during summer months with peak in May and June, They are locally known as Andhi. These dust storms are quite violent. Dust storms during the early summer indicates the arrival of the monsoons while dust storms in the autumn indicate the arrival of winter.
  • Heat waves occur during May and June, especially in southern Punjab, central Balochistan and interior Sindh.
  • Continental air prevails during the period when there is no precipitation in the country.

Seasonal climate

Sheru Dhara in Bagh Azad Kashmir

Pakistan has a cool, dry winter starting from November in the North and December in the South but it gets progressively wetter during January and February especially in the western parts of the country. Snowfall is common in Northern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Central Balochistan. Spring (March-April) in the North receives ample rain due to the Western Disturbances, Most of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa also receive substantial spring precipitation. Most of the country remains dry and hot during May and June and Balochistan remains this way until Autumn. The Southwest Monsoon reaches Pakistan in the beginning of July and this leads to heavy rainfall and high humidity. As the Monsoons retreat a short, dry Autumn commences in September in the far North and October in the rest of the country.

Temperature regions

Pakistan can be divided into four broad temperature regions:

  1. Hot summer and mild winter: 32 °C (90 °F) or more in summer and 10 °C (50 °F) to 21 °C (70 °F) in winter.
  2. Warm summer and mild winter: 21 °C (70 °F) - 32 °C (90 °F) in summer and 10 °C (50 °F) to 21 °C (70 °F) in winter.
  3. Warm summer and cool winter: 21 °C (70 °F) - 32 °C (90 °F) in summer and 00 °C (32 °F) - 10 °C (50 °F) in winter.
  4. Mild summer and cool/cold winter: Summer temperature between 10 °C (50 °F) and 21 °C (70 °F) and winter temperature between 00 °C (32 °F) and 10 °C (50 °F)

Extreme weather events

Highest temperature and rainfall ever recorded

The weather extremes in Pakistan include high and low temperatures, heaviest rainfall and flooding. The highest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan is 53.5 °C (128.3 °F) which was recorded in Mohenjo-daro, Sindh on 26 May, 2010. It was not only the hottest temperature ever recorded in Pakistan but also the hottest reliably measured temperature ever recorded on the continent of Asia.[3][4] and the fourth highest temperature ever recorded on earth. The highest rainfall of 620 millimetres (24 in) was recorded in Islamabad during 24 hours on 24 July, 2001. The record-breaking rain fell in just 10 hours. It was the heaviest rainfall in Islamabad in the previous 100 years.

Tropical cyclones and tornadoes

Each year before the onset of monsoon that is 15 April to 15 July and also after its withdrawal that is 15 September to 15 December, there is always a distinct possibility of the cyclonic storm to develop in the north Arabian Sea. Cyclones form in the Arabian sea often results in strong winds and heavy rainfall in Pakistan's coastal areas. However tornadoes mostly occur during spring season that is March and April usually when a Western Disturbance starts effecting the northern parts of the country. It is also speculated that cycles of tornado years may be correlated to the periods of reduced tropical cyclone activity.


The drought has become a frequent phenomenon in the country. Already, the massive droughts of 1998-2002 has stretched the coping abilities of the existing systems to the limit and it has barely been able to check the situation from becoming a catastrophe. The drought of 1998-2002 is considered worst in 50 years. According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan, the drought was one of the most significant factors responsible for the less than anticipated growth performance. The survey terms it as the worst drought in the history of the country. According to the government, 40 percent of the country's water needs went unmet.[5][6]


Pakistan has seen many floods, the most worst and destructive is the recent 2010 Pakistan floods, other floods which caused destruction in the history of Pakistan, includes the flood of 1950, which killed 2910 people, On 1 July 1977 heavy rains and flooding in Karachi, killed 248 people, according to Pakistan meteorological department 207 millimetres (8.1 in) of rain fell in 24 hours.[7] In 1992 flooding during Monsoon season killed 1,834 people across the country, in 1993 flooding during Monsoon rains killed 3,084 people, in 2003 Sindh province was badly affected due to monsoon rains causing damages in billions, killed 178 people, while in 2007 Cyclone Yemyin submerged lower part of Balochistan Province in sea water killing 380 people. Before that it killed 213 people in Karachi on its way to Balochistan.

2010 Floods

2010 July floods swept away the 20 % of Pakistan's land, the flood is the result of unprecedented Monsson rains which lasted from 28 July to 31 July 2010. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and North eastern punjab were badly affected during the monsoon rains when dams, rivers and lakes overflowed. By mid-August, according to the governmental Federal Flood Commission (FFC), the floods had caused the deaths of at least 1,540 people, while 2,088 people had received injuries, 557,226 houses had been destroyed, and over 6 million people had been displaced.[8] One month later, the data had been updated to reveal 1,781 deaths, 2,966 people with injuries, and more than 1.89 million homes destroyed.[9] The flood affected more than 20 million people exceeding the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[10][11] The flood is considered as worst in Pakistan's history affecting people of all four provinces and Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan.[12]

2011 Sindh floods

The 2011 Sindh floods began during the monsoon season in mid-August 2011, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in Sindh, Eastern Balochistan, and Southern Punjab.[13] The floods have caused considerable damage; an estimated 270 civilians have been killed, with 5.3 millio­n people and 1.2 millio­n homes affect­ed.[14] Sindh is a fertile region and often called the "breadbasket" of the country; the damage and toll of the floods on the local agrarian economy is said to be extensive. At least 1.7 million acres of arable land has been inundated as a result of the flooding.[14] The flooding has been described as the worst since the 2010 Pakistan floods, which devastated the entire country.[14] Unprecedented torrential monsoon rains caused severe flooding in 16 districts of Sindh province.[15]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Wunder Blog : Weather Underground". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  4. ^ " :Extreme Heat wave in Pakistan". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ " Heavy Rain in Karachi". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  8. ^ Ahmadani A (August 19, 2010). "Heavily Funded FFC Fails to Deliver". TheNation. Retrieved October, 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ Singapore Red Cross (September 15, 2010). "Pakistan Floods:The Deluge of Disaster - Facts & Figures as of 15 September 2010". Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ South Asia, BBC News (14 August 2010). "Floods affect 20m people – Pakistan PM Gilani". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Floods in Pakistan worse than tsunami, Haiti". gulfnews. Retrieved 12 August 2010. 
  12. ^ " : 2010 Pakistan Floods". Retrieved 6 September 2010. 
  13. ^ BBC World News South Asia. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011. 
  14. ^ a b c "Floods worsen, 270 killed: officials". The Express Tribune. September 13 2011. Retrieved September 13 2011. 
  15. ^

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