Aug 13, 2010

Pakistan's floods: is the worst still to come?

Peshawar
Khanpur
Pakistan
by
Kate Larkin
,
Nature
Flooded areas of Pakistan on 13 August, 2010. Photo: Tom De Groeve, JRC
Flooded areas of Pakistan on 13 August, 2010. Photo: Tom De Groeve, JRC

An unusual jet stream in the upper atmosphere from the north is intensifying rainfall in an area that is already in the midst of the summer monsoon. "What sets this year apart from others is the intensity and localisation of the rainfall," says Ramesh Kumar, a meteorologist at the National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, India. "Four months of rainfall has fallen in just a couple of days."..."As the atmosphere gets warmer, the carrying capacity for moisture will increase," says Kumar. Put bluntly: if Pakistan's climate warms in the future, rainfall will increase. There already seem to be more extreme rainstorms than ever before across the Indian subcontinent.