Extreme weather accounted for 76 percent of all disasters over the past 20 years. Recovery is often impossible even in the US, i.e. New Orleans 5 years after Hurricane Katrina where poor neighborhoods remain devastated
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 13, 2010 (Tierramérica)
The floods that affected 20 million people in Pakistan and the devastating six-week heat wave in Russia in recent months are tragic climate events — and they’re closely linked.
“The Pakistan floods and Russia heat wave were directly connected, the atmospheric science makes that clear,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Centre for Atmospheric Research, told Tierramérica.
A long-lasting high pressure system called a “blocking high” essentially gave western Russia a dry Mediterranean summer, which in turn shifted more- than-normal moisture into the Indian monsoon, resulting in record-breaking rainfall in northern Pakistan and India, Trenberth explained.
It is difficult to determine whether climate change caused this extraordinary event, but it certainly made it much worse, according to Trenberth. “Without global warming these extremes are unlikely to have occurred,” he added.
The drought in Russian and the heavy rains in Pakistan are exactly what are expected to happen with climate change, said the expert.
“Changes in extreme weather events are the main way climate change is manifested,” he said, noting that the storms or floods that used to occur once every 200 years may now occur every 30 years.