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Flooding, Climate Change, Natural Disasters


A record crest, is in forecast in Greenville, Mississippi, as the waters in Mississippi river keep rising. National weather service is forecasting that by the weekend there will be record flooding in Vicksburg and Natchez Mississippi, and in Red River Landing and baton Rouge, Louisiana. Monday morning, the rising Atchafalaya lake was already threatening Morgan Town, Louisiana. Mike Stack, a Corps of Engineers spokesman, told CNN’s “John King USA” that 20,000 to 25,000 homes could be flooded, but the agency and Louisiana authorities are working to limit the damage. As sad as it is that the structures in Butte Larose are being predicted to be 15 feet underwater, the rapidly increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters in United States and around the world is asking us, How long we will keep thinking that we can tackle this problem just by closing our eyes from it or just by denying that scientific and eyewitnesses facts?  World Wide Fund for Nature published a detailed, landmark reports in year 2000, which reported that the climate change was already causing an increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and the trend was very likely to continue. The report stated, ”  Emissions of global warming gases continue to rise as the world burns ever more coal, oil  and gas for energy…………………   Floods along the Yangtze River in China in  1998 were responsible for 4,000 deaths and economic losses of US $30 billion. In the  same year, extreme weather conditions in Florida lead to drought and widespread  wildfires caused the loss of 483,000 acres and 356 structures from fires, and resulted in an  estimated US $276 million in damages…………………   Changing levels of precipitation,  more severe El Niños or tropical cyclones, acute coral bleaching such that corals would  not have time to recover, or a stagnation of the Ocean Conveyer Belt and the collapse of  the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are risks………………….   The dramatic floods in Mozambique that left thousands stranded and  the recent bleaching coral reefs around Fiji are characteristic of what we can expect in a  warmer world…………………   This includes changes in  temperature, precipitation, sea level rise, atmospheric circulation patterns, and  ecosystems…………………   We thank Fons Baede of the Royal Netherlands  Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and Jim Bruce, Chair of the International Advisory  Committee UNU Network on Water, Environment and Health and former co-chair of  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 3, for their reviews  and comments…………………   Greenhouse gases trap some of the infrared radiation  emitted by the Earth and keep the planet warmer than it would be otherwise………………….   Carbon  dioxide has increased from 280 ppmv to 360 parts per million by volume (ppmv),  methane from 700 to 1720 ppmv, and nitrous oxide from 275 to 310 ppmv…………………   A closer look reveals that the majority of this temperature increase  occurred during the last few decades, when the global average temperature has risen by  about 0.2oC per decade………………….   The six  warmest of these years occurred after 1990…………………   This plot also forms  the basis for the conclusion that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium…………………   The largest warming occurred in the upper 300  metres, on average by 0.56 degrees Fahrenheit (0.31oC)…………………   The researchers also found that the warming of the subsurface ocean temperatures  preceded the observed warming of the surface air and sea surface temperatures, which  began in the 1970s…………………   However, systematic  observations show that global warming and the spatial pattern of this warming extend  beyond the bounds of our estimates of natural variability…………………   Regardless of the way the influence of the sun is included in the statistical model,  the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere  significantly influence the temperature…………………   the global mean temperature has rapidly risen since the late 1980s…………………   As a result temperature differences between oceans and land increase, most  probably affecting atmospheric circulations…………………   In spite of these limitations, some specific  changes in the amounts and patterns of precipitation have been found over the last few  decades…………………   In general, between 30oN and 70oN an increase in the mean precipitation has been  observed…………………   In North America the annual precipitation has increased (Karl et al. 1993b;  Groisman and Easterling 1994)…………………   For example, analyses of precipitation patterns in the USA (Karl and  Knight 1998), the former USSR, South Africa, China (Groisman et al. 1999) and India (Lal  et al. 1999) show a significant increase in heavy rainstorms…………………   While this rise in sea level may be seen as the tail end of a continuous rise since the last ice  age, sea level has risen most sharply over the last 50 years…………………   Thus, the measured 0.6oC-sea  surface temperature increase explains a 6 centimetres sea level rise…………………   In the last century, glaciers on Mount Kenya have lost 92  percent of their mass and glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro 73 percent…………………   However, this winter increase in volume is no longer  keeping pace with the melting caused by the longer and hotter summers…………………   Trends estimated from these data suggest a net  decrease in Arctic ice extent of about 2.9 percent per decade (Cavalieri et al. 1997)…………………   Rothrock et al. concluded from a comparison of sea ice draft measurements during  submarine cruises between the periods 1993 to 1997 and 1958 to 1976 that the sea ice  cover has decreased by about 1.3 m in thickness…………………   All these recent trends and variations in sea ice cover and thickness are consistent with  recorded changes in high-latitude air temperatures, winds, and oceanic conditions…………………   One  way or another this temperature difference will affect the atmospheric circulation patterns,  the wind speed distribution/frequencies, and the strength and trajectories of high-and low-pressure  fields…………………   In fact, an increase in the number of low-pressure areas has been detected in parts of the  United States, the east coast of Australia, and the North Atlantic Ocean (Houghton et al.  1996)…………………   The changes of the  ocean water temperature most probably lead to a change in atmospheric circulation, as a  result affecting the amounts of rain falling in the Sahel (Hulme and Kelly.)4…………………   This is qualitatively in line with greenhouse gas theory: greenhouse gases  warm the troposphere; the heat produced at the lower levels cannot gradually diffuse  upwards and the upper atmosphere cools down, a process known as radiative cooling…………………   Changes in the atmospheric  circulation caused by the greenhouse effect may enhance radiative cooling…………………   The conclusion we may draw is that important temperature and circulation changes are  likely related to the enhanced greenhouse effect…………………   As a result of increased investments in climate change research and atmosphere and ocean  circulation analysis, the understanding of natural climate variability at the time scales of  seasons, years, and decades has significantly increased…………………   Widespread droughts and floods occur simultaneously in different parts  of the world in association with El Niño…………………   The occurrence of an El Niño has profound implications for agriculture, forests (burning),  precipitation, water resources, human health, and society in general (Trenberth 1996)…………………   El Niños have occurred more often since 1975, and measurements covering the last 120  years indicate that the duration of the 1990-95 El Niño was the longest on record…………………   It is more likely that a sustained thermal  forcing, such as caused by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, has been at  least partly responsible for the observed warming over a broad triangular region in the  Pacific Ocean associated with El Niño…………………   This suggests that human-induced climate change may be at least partly responsible for  the relatively extreme character of the El Niño-related weather over the last few years in  many parts of the world…………………   This  phenomenon is responsible for the exceptionally high mean temperature and the many  particularly heavy rainstorms hitting Northwest Europe in the last 10 years…………………   In statistical terms, an annual precipitation with a chance of occurrence of 1 in 1000 per  year is also possible within the range of a “constant” climate…………………   The comparison of various models indicates that the surface changes are largely  driven by the effect of greenhouse gases on the stratosphere (Shindell et al. 1999).6…………………   Also, tropical sea surface temperature anomalies near  Indonesia, related to El Niño, could influence NAO (KNMI 1999)…………………   The influence of El Niño on tropical cyclone activity is more clear. For example, El  Niño events increase tropical cyclone activity in some basins (like the central North  Pacific near Hawaii, the South Pacific, and the Northwest Pacific between 160oE and  the Dateline (Chan 1985; Chu and Wang 1997; Lander 1994), and decrease it in other  basins like the Atlantic, the Northwest Pacific west of 160oE, and the Australian  region (Nicholls 1979; Revelle and Goulter 1986; Gray 1984)…………………   As at least part of the observed temperature  rise can be attributed to the enhanced greenhouse effect, we conclude that the changes  in tropical cyclone activity are at least partly the result of human-induced climate  change…………………   In turn, the  severity of weather extremes in many parts of the world correlates positively with the  strength of the El Niño phenomenon…………………   Coral reef bleaching episodes were observed in 1980,  1982, 1987, 1992, 1994, and 1998 in the Great Barrier Reef near Australia and many other  places in the world…………………   Over fishing in combination with higher temperatures  endangers the long-term sustainability of cod in the North Sea…………………   Several researchers have found evidence of  pole ward shifts of various butterfly species in North America and Europe (Parmesan 1996;  1999)…………………   Alpine plants have migrated to higher areas in the central Pals of Austria and the east of  Switzerland, according to researchers at the University of Vienna…………………   The studies illustrate that ecosystems are  very sensitive to changes in temperature…………………   In the period 1963-1992, the number of  disasters causing more than 1 percent GDP damage had increased two to three times for  the weather-related disasters in comparison to the earthquake disasters (United Nations  1994)…………………   While real global GDP  increased by a factor of three since 1960, the total sum of extreme weather-related  damage increased by a factor of eight.” So, there is a lot more then just building levees, lakes, dams, pipelines and canals, to these disasters. We need to get to the root cause and we need to get there quick. All the scientific data is showing we are running out of time. It probably is still not too late. Lets open our eyes and hold each others hands, since, we all are in this together.

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Born in 1964, business owner, from Woodbridge, VA, owns ExcitingAds! Inc. ( and blog ( He was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. His elementary school was ST. Michael's Convent High School, Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated high school from ST. Bonaventure's Convent High School, Hyderabad, Sind, Pakistan. His pre-med college was S. A. L. Govt. College, Mirpurkas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan in 1990. Earned equivalency certification from Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA in 1994.

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