With winter getting gradually warmer in Bangladesh for nearly a decade, meteorologists and climate experts say this winter will be even much warmer and shorter than previous years as the mercury is not falling as expected.
According to statistics provided by Bangladesh Metrological Department (BMD), the people of Bangladesh are experiencing less cold this winter. which had set early in December. The temperature is higher than it was in previous years during this month.
Besides, the Met office said, the length of this winter is likely to be shorter as it may end in early February when days will start getting longer.
According to a recent report released by Global Climate Risk Index 2019, Bangladesh is the seventh most affected country in the world due to "extreme weather events" over the last 20 years from 1998 -2017.
The report also said 407 people died in Bangladesh in 2017 due to extreme weather-related events while the country suffered an economic loss of about USD 2,826.68 million during the period.
Bazlur Rashid, a meteorologist at Bangladesh Meteorology Department, said that Bangladesh has been experiencing relatively warmer winter and a gradual fall of intense cold temperatures for a decade as the country's overall temperature has increased around 1.2°C during the period.
"This winter is no exception as well. People are experiencing less cold as the mercury did not fall to the level it should. The average temperature is 1-2°C higher than the previous years. The lowest temperature was recorded 9.5°C today (Sunday) at Pannchaganr's Tentulia while in Dhaka the highest was 18°C. The lowest temperature on this day last year was 8.9°C at Tentulia and 17°C in Dhaka," he said.
The meteorologist said the temperature may fall substantially next week when one or two light or mild cold waves are likely to sweep the country.
He said mercury is likely to drop tp as low as 6 degrees Celsius in northwestern regions, including Rangpur, Rajshahi and Khulna divisions. "But, Dhaka's temperature is unlikely to fall significantly during the cold wave as it won't drop below 12 to 13 degrees Celsius."
Bazlur said people in the country's northwestern and southern regions, especially the Rangpur Division, are now feeling cold due to light rain or drizzle that occurred over the last couple of days.
Stating that January is supposed to be the coldest month in Bangladesh, he said the mercury to fall next month with one or two severe cold waves sweeping the country, but it may not come down to the expected level. "The average temperature should remain about 10-12 degrees Celsius during January, but it may not drop below 15°C."
Bazlur also said the winter season should persist till the last week of February, but this time it may end in early February when days will start getting longer.
Eminent climate expert Dr Atiq Rahman said temperature have increased one degree Celsius on average in Bangladesh due to climate change while half-degree Celsius for other reasons, such as pollution and industrialisation.
He said the average global temperature has increased 0.96 degrees Celsius and has continued to rise. "So, there's no doubt that Bangladesh is experiencing warmer winters."
Dr Atiq, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Advanced Studies, said that people in Dhaka and other cities have been experiencing much higher temperatures than other areas because of the huge number of buildings and concrete roads and pavements, which retain the heat for six to 8 hours after sunset.
The winter is getting less biting gradually, but with more fogs, He added, "Crops are being affected badly with increased fogs. The cyclone Bulbul also damaged winter crops this year."
The noted climate expert said that Bangladesh has very little to do to check the unusual temperature during winter as it is one of the worst the victims of global warming caused by climate change.
He, however, said that the government should take steps to increase greeneries in Dhaka and other cities, encourage people to plant different trees on roofs, balconies and open spaces around their houses and check pollution to reduce warming a bit.
Prof Maksudur Rahman of Dhaka University's Geography and Environment Science department said that the average temperature in Bangladesh is increasing due to some natural and manmade reasons, including global warming, lack of adequate greeneries, rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, excessive emission of Carbon dioxide and the growing use of ACs, electricity and electronic devices.
There is a necessity for adequate research to know the long-term impact of climate change, warming and abnormal shift in the traditional six seasons of the country and its biodiversity, he said.
"Our government should focus on conducting research on climate-related issues."