The heat has got to the Himalayas

By Passang Norbu

Across the nation last week the temperature showed a steady rise


If you thought Thimphu was getting hotter this week, you are right.

Data with the metrology division under department of hydromet services show temperatures at 23 degree Celsius on June 8, 28 degree Celsius on Monday and 30 degree Celsius on Tuesday, June 11.

This trend was visible in other districts as well.  In Paro, temperatures rose from 25 degree Celsius on June 8 to 27 degree Celsius on June 11.  In Haa, it rose from 19.5 degree Celsius on June 8 to 26 degree Celsius on June 11.

In Punakha valley, it went up from 32 degree Celsius on June 8 to 36 degrees Celsius on June 11, and from 20 degree Celsius on June 8 to 27 degree Celsius on June 11 in Dagana.

The eastern region of Trashiyangtse saw an increase from 22 to 27 degrees Celsius.  In Lhuentse, it rose from 25.5 to 38 degree Celsius, the highest temperature recorded till date this year.

Like Lhuentse that saw the hottest day on June 11, the southern border town of Phuentsholing too experienced the same on June 11 with 38 degree Celsius from 33 degree Celsius recorded on June 8.

While most people felt the rise in temperature at a more drastic pace than last summer, with some even linking it to the recent invasion of army worms and giant African land snails, metrology division officials say it was nothing unusual, and triggered by the localised climatic pattern.

“The fall of the monsoon rain was on time, experienced on evening of June 5, but the dry weather from that day till date doesn’t mean that monsoon is erratic,” metrology division chief, Singye Dorji said. “Other districts have been experiencing rainfall in these days, and monsoon would slowly move towards Nepal.”

Officials added summer temperature gradually increases, as it was the transition from spring to summer.

A shopkeeper in Thimphu, Thinley, said most customers preferred shopping in the evenings, because of the sticky uncomfortable heat, and shopkeepers mostly slept in their shops during day.

A farmer in Thimphu Dorji said the weather last year around same time was hot during day, but was followed by rainfall in the evenings. “I hope it rains soon, so that our crops shoot up,” he said.

For Tshoki, a housewife and her two kids residing in Motithang, because of the heat she now takes her children to the park in the evenings.  Those going for walks, jogging and biking are choosing evening, although they are some who said they liked the sunny weather, because they could perspire more.

Health experts say hot sunny weather can affect people’s mood, and it’s called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  Symptoms of SAD are depression, sadness, lethargy, fatigue, excessive sleeping, loss of appetite and irritability. “The heat causes the body’s time clock to go out of sync, thus upsetting the body’s routine,” said a health official. “When this happens, people can easily lose their temper.”

The highest temperature recorded in Bhutan in the past 17 years was in Phuentsholing on August 27, 1997 at 40 degree Celsius.

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