Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Here is a talk I recently gave about the mega-flood this fall in Pakistan, which affected 33 million people, inundated a third of the country at one point, and caused between $15 billion and $30 billion in damages, including to crops and food supplies at a time when the Ukraine War has already increased global food insecurity. The video and the powerpoint slides are below.
I had written about this catastrophe, “The massive monsoon floods that affected 33 million people in Pakistan, destroyed 1.3 million homes, turned the southern province of Sindh temporarily into a new inland sea nearly 70 miles across, and killed off 80% of the country’s livestock was in part fueled by the human-caused climate emergency. So argues a new paper by Friederike E. L. Otto et al., “Climate change likely increased extreme monsoon rainfall, flooding highly vulnerable communities in Pakistan,” is up at World Weather Attribution.
Some 45% of the cotton crop has been lost, along with billions of dollars in food crops, raising the specter of widespread starvation. $30 billion in damage has been done. 11 million people in Pakistan are newly food insecure.
Climate scientists are very careful about attribution. But these scientists wrote, “we found that the 5-day maximum rainfall over the provinces Sindh and Balochistan is now about 75% more intense than it would have been had the climate not warmed by 1.2C, whereas the 60-day rain across the basin is now about 50% more intense, meaning rainfall this heavy is now more likely to happen.”
The heating of the surface temperature of the earth to 2.16 degrees F. above preindustrial norms has been caused by burning coal, petroleum and fossil gas, which sends heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Pakistan is only responsible for about 1% of that carbon dioxide, and historically the bulk of it was put into the atmosphere by the United States, Britain and other early-industrializing states. Pakistan is nevertheless stuck with the bill for this orgy of greenhouse gas production. That imbalance has led to calls for debt relief and even reparations for the disaster-struck country.
The scientists are confident that the maximum five-day rainfall during Pakistan’s monsoon has been turbocharged by heating up the earth and its oceans.
They note, “The record rainfall that fell between 1st-31st August over Sindh and Balochistan were 726% and 590% of the usual totals for August in the respective regions … Pakistan as a whole received 243% more rainfall than usual during this period.”
So here is the talk:
And here are some slides: