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UTTARAKHAND FLOODING June 25, 2013

Posted by wmmbb in Global Warming (climate change), South Asia.
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As was the case last year, a portion of of the Himilayas has been subject to flooding, and it seems many of the same factors were in play.

This year the state of Uttarakhand, which lies on the north-west border of Nepal has been the site of the disaster.  And again the flooding was principally attributed to the early onset of the Monsoon.

The BBC reports:

Rescuers in northern India are making a concerted push to reach 7,000 people still stranded in the mountains after flash floods and landslides.

Air force officials say they need to get to the affected areas urgently as time is running out for survivors.

In Uttarakhand state, where the death toll is expected to pass 1,000, there was more rain on Monday with further downpours predicted.

More than 600 people are confirmed dead while 80,000 have been rescued.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told the BBC over the weekend he feared at least 1,000 people had died.

Early monsoon rains in India this year are believed to be the heaviest in 80 years.

Thousands are still stranded in the holy pilgrimage site of Badrinath higher up in the Himalayas after flash floods hit the region last week, the BBC Hindi’s Nitin Srivastava reports from Rishikesh.

But rescue operations are being hampered by rain and mountains are covered in mist, our correspondent reports.

On Monday morning, helicopters carrying special forces to find survivors were forced to turn back because of bad weather, air force officials told the BBC.

On Sunday, officials said the severely damaged Hindu temple town of Kedarnath had been cleared of survivors and teams were searching for the bodies of victims.

Tourists and pilgrims were among those caught up in the floods, which washed away homes, roads and bridges.

So extensive is the damage that even a week after the devastating floods and landslides, there is still no clarity on the true number of people missing or dead.

News X reports on the disaster, in the suggestion that the flooding is unprecedented and issues related to effectiveness of the governmental and military response:

Whether or not, this extreme weather event can be related to climate change, does not seem to have been discussed. It is probably easier to reflect in retrospect to see the impact that climate change appears to be having local weather events.

Nagraj Agve in The Hindi observes:

It is in the nature of its methodology that it is not possible to ascribe single rainfall events to climate change. Climate change is a trend over time. However, as extreme events become more frequent in the world, some scientists are trying to grapple with this problem. One group tweaked the question a bit. They have argued that certain recent extreme events — the heatwaves and droughts in Moscow in 2010, and Texas, Oklahoma and northern Mexico in 2011 – were a consequence of global warming “because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small” (James Hansen et al, ‘Perception of Climate Change’, PNAS, 6 August 2012, pp. 2415-2423). Hansen et al showed that extreme temperatures exceeding 3-sigma (a measure of variability and volatility), which covered only 0.1-0.2 per cent of the Earth’s land area in the 30-year period 1950-1980, occurred in as much as 10 per cent of the planet’s land mass in recent summers. Would the heatwaves they refer to have happened in the absence of this huge spread of extreme warming? No.

But note that even this study is largely linking specific temperature anomalies to global warming, not rainfall events. I believe that this methodological impossibility in ascribing single rainfall events, however extreme, to climate change, bolsters the already prevalent complacency about climate change in Indian officialdom and even the denial of global warming.

And, if all goes according to the portents of the polls, it will not be just India who has a political leadership in serious denial of the reality of climate change, including not just failure to address the problem as a long term and global one, but failing to address the events before they arise. As noted in the article: “We need to challenge the callous indifference most political elites have to the lives and livelihoods of the poor.” So it goes.

ELSEWHERE:

And then there is the situation and the thinking, back here in “the developed world”,

John Quiggin refers to the concept of “a livable planet” in the context of President Obama’s speech on climate change. The president is proposing limits of  carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

I can’t keep up with the research expect with the realization that climate change is an established scientific theory in the sense most research and systematic observations assume the case and the evidence does not contradict the assumption.

Political systems are geared to short term thinking. Political reality and climate reality are in contradiction. Furthermore we live in a nation state box, and this issue is global. For example, Speaker of the House of Reps, John Boehner, apparently thinks that Obama’s “rumoured plans are insane”.

Speaker of the House of Reps, John Boehner apparently thinks that Obama’s “rumoured plans are insane”.He argues:

“Why,” asked Boehner, “would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when the American people are still asking the question, where are the jobs?”

With this perspective, a livable planet does not even appear on the radar. Australia is no different, as seems likely the majority will demonstrate in the upcoming Federal Election. Catch 22: with continuing inaction, both costs and dangers increase.

“Why,” asked Boehner, “would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when the American people are still asking the question, where are the jobs?”

With this perspective, a livable planet does not even appear on the radar. Australia is no different, as seems likely the majority will demonstrate in the upcoming Federal Election. Catch 22: with continuing inaction, both costs and dangers increase.

UPDATE: 24 jULY 2013

The problems related to flooding, landslides and the isolation of people continues. The description of the Himilayan Tsunami is apt. Nita Bhalla for Al Jazeera reports:

The calamity – come to be known as India’s “Himalayan tsunami” because of the torrent of water unleashed by burgeoning rivers and glacial lakes – has devastated the area that is a popular Hindu pilgrimage destination.

Almost 6,000 people – mostly pilgrims – reported missing have now been presumed dead, while about two million people have had their lives turned upside down, state authorities say.

Many survivors have had their homes and businesses destroyed or farmlands washed away. Whole villages have been left cut off with roads washed away, bridges ripped apart and highways buried under tonnes of mud and boulders.

There is grievous human suffering involved, not unrelated to the plight of livestock:

Stranded after flash floods and landslides, survivors were not only running out of food for themselves, but also fodder for the few remaining weakened livestock that their children depend on for milk.

Comments»

1. Portland Trail Blazers - June 26, 2013

…Recommended websites

[…]Excellent blog here! Also your site so much up fast![…]

wmmbb - June 26, 2013

WordPress is due credit for the speed.

As to the blog, I realize in retrospect that climate deniers do not exist among the political elite in the West.

Thanks for the comment and reference.

2. Web Designing Company in Delhi - December 10, 2013

We hardly believe the flood disaster of kedarnath. It is one of the biggest disaster we have seen, India lost a big, I want to say that now we always ready to these kind of situation, make building after passing by the government towards the safe areas of the fill, all building are constructed in way that so we may least harm by these type of disaster. I wish that we(India) will get out of this disaster as early as possible and make a plan to cop these situation in Future


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