Having a good forecasting system in place will help with preparedness, and save lives. But Nepal does not yet have its own standards to determine heat or cold waves, and relying only on the World Meteorological Organisation has limitations when it comes to localised projections.
“Nepal needs to study its historical heat and cold waves and come up with its own standards and adjust it for the changing climate for better forecasting and preparedness at local levels,” says Pokharel.
The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) in Kathmandu is monitoring the heat wave this week, and despite projections of higher solar intensity the smoke haze has also been filtering the sunlight, lowering the maximum temperature slightly.
“The heat wave conditions in the Indian plains this week is affecting us, and we expect more and more extreme heat events and anomalies made worse by the climate crisis,” says Archana Shrestha at the DHM.
She adds, “Average temperatures will continue to rise and we have no other recourse than to be prepared. This means we have to rethink our development pathways, I’m genuinely worried about how concrete structures are coming, this is turning our cities into hot spots. We must prepare this and future generations for even hotter summers. This means the the health, finance, agriculture ministries should all be prepared, not just the environment ministry.”