Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Research article
22 Dec 2017
Research article |  | 22 Dec 2017

Return levels of temperature extremes in southern Pakistan

Maida Zahid, Richard Blender, Valerio Lucarini, and Maria Caterina Bramati

Abstract. Southern Pakistan (Sindh) is one of the hottest regions in the world and is highly vulnerable to temperature extremes. In order to improve rural and urban planning, it is useful to gather information about the recurrence of temperature extremes. In this work, return levels of the daily maximum temperature Tmax are estimated, as well as the daily maximum wet-bulb temperature TWmax extremes. We adopt the peaks over threshold (POT) method, which has not yet been used for similar studies in this region. Two main datasets are analyzed: temperatures observed at nine meteorological stations in southern Pakistan from 1980 to 2013, and the ERA-Interim (ECMWF reanalysis) data for the nearest corresponding locations. The analysis provides the 2-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 50-, and 100-year return levels (RLs) of temperature extremes. The 90 % quantile is found to be a suitable threshold for all stations. We find that the RLs of the observed Tmax are above 50 °C at northern stations and above 45 °C at the southern stations. The RLs of the observed TWmax exceed 35 °C in the region, which is considered as a limit of survivability. The RLs estimated from the ERA-Interim data are lower by 3 to 5 °C than the RLs assessed for the nine meteorological stations. A simple bias correction applied to ERA-Interim data improves the RLs remarkably, yet discrepancies are still present. The results have potential implications for the risk assessment of extreme temperatures in Sindh.

Short summary
The southern part of Pakistan (Sindh province) has been exposed to frequent and intense temperature extremes recently and is highly vulnerable to their impacts due to lack of information on recurrence of extremes. In this paper for the first time we estimated the return levels of daily maximum temperatures and daily maximum wet-bulb temperatures over the different return periods in Sindh, which would help the local administrations to prioritize the regions in terms of adaptations.
Final-revised paper