Climate change blamed for Sindh flooding

Published September 11, 2011

According to the lead author of Pakistan Climate Change Policy, Dr. Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry, climate change may be the responsible of severe floods in Sindh. – AFP Photo

ISLAMABAD: A weather scientist on Friday blamed climate change for the unprecedented torrential monsoon rains in Sindh that have caused severe flooding in the 16 districts of Sindh province.

“If we look at the frequency and the trend of the extreme weather events impacting Pakistan then it is easy to find its linkage with climate change,” said Dr. Qamar uz Zaman Chaudhry Advisor, Climate Affairs in a statement here.

The pattern of recent extreme weather events in Pakistan show clear indication of increased frequency and intensity of such events in Pakistan which is in line with the international climate change projections, he added.

Dr Qamar, who is also the lead author and architect of the country’s first Draft National Climate Change Policy, said Pakistan is heading for increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, which includes frequent floods and droughts.

“We need to adapt and plan for that,” he said and added, the formulation of Draft National Climate Change Policy is the first step in this direction.

He said the rains in Sindh are the highest ever recorded monsoon rains during the four weeks period. Before the start of these rains in the second week of August, Sindh was under severe drought conditions and it had not received any rainfall for the last 12 months.

The last severe rainfall flooding in Sindh occurred in July 2003, he said and added, but this time the devastating rains of 1150 mm in Mithi, Mirpurkhas 676 mm, Diplo 779 mm, Chachro 735 mm, N. Parker 792 mm, Nawabshah 547 mm, Badin 512 mm, Chhor 456 mm, Padidan 381 mm Hyderabad 249 mm etc during the four weeks period have created unprecedented flood situation in Sindh.

According to Dr. Qamar, the total volume of water fallen over Sindh during the four weeks is estimated to be above 37 million acre feet, “which is unimaginable.”

He said that the rainfall was predicted well in advance by Met Office and the disaster management agencies were well prepared. “But the scale of this natural calamity combined with the topography of the area having very poor natural drainage. Most of water stagnates and breaches in LBOD and irrigation channels further complicated the scale of flooding.”

Dr. Qamar said that it was also forecast that in Pakistan climate change would be causing considerable increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coupled with erratic monsoon rains causing frequent floods and droughts, and increased temperature would result in enhanced heat and water stress conditions, particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions.

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