A study finds that rising temperatures and other factors have exacerbated floods in Pakistan

Climate change likely caused rainfall of up to 50% late last month in two southern Pakistan provinces, but global warming It was not the biggest cause of the catastrophic floods in the country A new scientific analysis has found that more than 1,500 people have been killed.

The study said that the general vulnerability of Pakistan, including people in harm’s way, is the main factor in the disaster that once submerged a third of the country under water, but that “human-caused climate change also plays a really important role here.” Senior author Frederic Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London.

There are many ingredients to an ongoing humanitarian crisis Some are meteorological, some are economic, some are social, some are historical and practical. Add to those weather records that you don’t go far back in time.

With such complexities and limitations, the study’s authors said, the team of international scientists looking at the disaster was unable to quantify how much climate change increased the likelihood and frequency of floods. It was released on Thursday but has not yet been reviewed.

What happened, Otto said, “could have been a catastrophic rainfall event without climate change, but it’s worse because of climate change.” “Especially in this highly vulnerable region, small changes are of great importance.”

But other human factors that exposed people to harm and weren’t enough to control the water were bigger influences.

“This catastrophe was the result of a weakness that had developed over many years,” said study team member Aisha Seddiqi from the University of Cambridge.

August rainfall in Sindh and Balochistan provinces – together roughly the size of Spain – averaged nearly eight times seven times, while the country as a whole experienced three times the usual rainfall, according to the report. by Refer the weather in the worlda group of mostly volunteer scientists from around the world doing real-time studies of extreme weather to look for the fingerprints of climate change.

The team looked at just the two counties over the course of five days and saw an increase of up to 50% in precipitation intensity likely due to climate change. They also looked at the entire Indus region over a two-month period and saw a 30% increase in rainfall there.

Not only did scientists examine past rain records, which date back only to 1961, but they used computer simulations to compare what happened last month with what would have happened in a world without greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and natural resources. Gas – This difference is what they can attribute to climate change. This is a scientifically valid techniqueaccording to the US National Academy of Sciences.

Several factors have made this monsoon season wetter than usual, including La Nina, the natural cooling of part of the Pacific Ocean, said study co-author Fahad Saeed, a climate scientist at Climate Analytics and the Center for Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Islamabad, Pakistan. That changes the weather around the world.

But Saeed said there were other factors that influenced climate change. Bad heatwave in the area earlier in the summer – which increased 30 times Because of climate change – an increase in the difference between the temperature of the earth and the water. This differential determines how much moisture moves from the ocean to the monsoons and means more of it falls.

Said said climate change appears to be slightly altering the jet stream, storm tracks and where the low pressure sits, causing more rain to fall on the southern provinces than it usually falls.

“Pakistan has not contributed much to causing global climate change, but it will almost certainly have to deal with an enormous amount of the consequences of climate change,” said Jonathan Overbeck, dean of the environment at the University of Michigan, who was not part of the study.

Overbeck and three other outside climatologists said the study makes sense and has a fine-grained inclusion of all risk factors.

The nuances help “avoid over-interpretation,” said Chris Field, a climate scientist at Stanford University. But we also want to avoid losing sight of the key message – human-caused climate change increases the risk of extreme events around the world, including the devastating Pakistan floods in 2022.”

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