Rain Rain Go Away
Europe’s Rhine River and China’s Yangtze Rivers are at historic low levels, California swelters in record heat, one-third of Pakistan is flooded and 33 million people are impacted, arctic permafrost melting, the global warming playbook of natural disasters unfolds.
In August 2022, the EPA published an extended study on climate change stating “scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change.”
PBS reported “nearly 1400 people have died and 13000 injured” due to extreme flooding in Pakistan with no mention of the same Indus Valley monsoon floor prevention elements implemented by neighboring India.
Though it can be hard to pinpoint whether climate change intensifies a particular weather event, EDF.org states “the trajectory is clear — hotter heat waves, drier droughts, bigger storm surges and greater snowfall.”
It is apparent that the rise of extreme weather patterns has devastating impacts on societies around the world, but is global warming really the fault here or are there other internal societal issues than are in play?
Pakistan’s recent floods have wreaked havoc across the country destroying property, leaving thousands homeless, and endangering lives. The USIP elaborates on the damage caused by the floods stating “the direct damage to roads, homes, livestock and crops is over $3 billion”.
Contrary to public opinion, this massive destruction was significantly aided by various weak societal and local governmental factors such as “the proliferation of water mafias, illegal and unregulated construction, and poor urban and rural planning” according to the USIP.
In fact, a large proportion of the destruction caused by the flooding was to whole communities that were built illegally in floodplain areas to uncertain specifications. It’s worth considering that the "325,000 homes destroyed" as stated by the USIP may have been avoided, or at least lessened, if local authorities surveyed construction activity and permits more closely.
Before we point a finger at global warming impacting traditional Monsoon rail patterns, let’s keep in mind environmental change is a complex set of events and answers may be found closer to home than one may think.
Check back soon for further updates.