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Bangladesh Feels The Heat, Clocks 14-year Highs PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 April 2009

Temperatures in Bangladesh soared to their highest since 1995 on Sunday, with Jessore recording a blistering 42.2 degrees Celsius and capital Dhaka registering 38.7.

At least one person was reported to have died from heat-related causes in Jessore.

Sixty-five year-old Ansar Ali died at Nijampur Bazar at around 2pm, shortly after arriving there on an overcrowded bus from Khulna. Police and witnesses said he got down from the bus, had a glass of water from a roadside stall and within a few minutes was dead on the spot.

An unrelenting heat wave has been sweeping the country for over a week, and was forecast to continue for at least another few days, meteorologist Abdul Mannan told

The mercury may rise another degree above Sunday's 14-year highs, said the met official.

The highest temperature in 1995 was recorded as 43 degrees in Rajshahi, and 39 degrees in the capital.

Mannan said the mounting temperature was an impact of global warming. "Bangladesh has been witnessing climate change," he said.

Records of the Department of Environment's Climate Change Cell from 1985-1998, show average May temperatures to have 'risen' by one degree Celcius, and average November (winter) temperatures by 0.5 degrees.

However, data over such a relatively short time is inconclusive. Climate change trends are studied over much longer periods.

On a larger timescale, temperatures have risen 0.5 percent countrywide and 0.7 percent in the capital over the last 50 years, said Mannan.

Reflected heat, gridlocked streets and overcrowding are all reasons why heat is felt more intensely in the capital compared to elsewhere in the country, he said.

"Unplanned high-rise buildings, high traffic emissions, overuse of air conditioners and lack of greenery are causing the capital's temperatures to be all the more scorching."

Although the met office recorded highest average temperature at 38.7 degrees in Dhaka, Mannan said some of its more densely populated and busy areas including Mohakhali, Gulistan, Farmgate, Motijheel and Tejgaon clocked more than 40 degrees Celsius.

Dhaka's highest ever temperature was recorded at 42.3 degrees Celsius in 1960, while the country's highest was recorded 45.1 degrees in Rajshahi on May 30 in 1972.

Low pressure gradient over Bangladesh and adjacent areas and absence of seasonal winds are causing the unbearable heat wave, said the met official.

Among the highest temperatures recorded in five other divisional cities on Sunday were: Chittagong 34.3, Sylhet 35.5, Rajshahi 40.4, Khulna 40.5 and Barisal 37 degrees Celsius.


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