By Raed Omari

AMMAN – By virtue of its geographical location, Jordan is probably experiencing negative effects of climate change, although it is too early to be absolutely sure, environmental experts said.

Commenting on the delay in rainfall the Kingdom is currently experiencing, Jawad Bakri, a professor in environmental remote sensing at the University of Jordan (UJ), said it can be attributed to climate change and global warming.

He told The Jordan Times over the phone that as a result of increasing desertification and shrinking plant cover, many countries, including Jordan, have become affected more by heatwaves than by depressions that cause rain.

Bakri noted that the consequences of global warming can be seen in the noticeable rising trend in temperatures the entire world is currently witnessing, adding that scientific research has shown that global warming affects different regions in very different ways.

“The Eastern Mediterranean is among the regions to feel the negative effects of global warming,” the UJ professor said, adding that “states in this region are witnessing a rise in minimum temperatures, which has an effect on rainfall”.

“All these factors contribute to making annual rainfall come later and last for a shorter time,” Bakri pointed out.

But meteorologist Husam Abu Shayeb said there is not enough proof to point conclusively to climate change rather than “climate imbalances” as the cause of the delayed rains.

“If this situation lasts for another 10 years, we can call it climate change,” he noted.

However, Abu Shayeb pointed out that the delay in rainfall has become a common phenomenon in the Kingdom during the past six years, “to the point that it has become obvious that rain starts in December”.

He noted that “2010 is the driest year since 1992”, according to studies conducted by the Jordan Meteorological Department.

Changes in the weather patterns during the last several years have forced farmers to move their planting season from mid-September to around mid-October or “even to the beginning of November”, Director of the Jordan Valley Agricultural Department Najah Masalha told The Jordan Times last month.

“Farmers are used to the delay in the rainy season witnessed in recent years,” he said at the time, adding that the high temperatures in the Jordan Valley are increasing the number of insects affecting crops and causing serious damage to some “vital” agricultural produce.

However, JMD Director General Abdul Halim Abu Hazim told The Jordan Times in October that the hot weather was not a “direct” effect of climate change, stressing that climate change does not have a “rapid” and “clear” short-term impact on the world.

“We cannot say that daily changes in the weather are the result of climate change,” the official indicated.