Once unthinkable, Pakistan's record rainfall could now happen once a century
Climate change made the unprecedented monsoon rainfall that left one-third of Pakistan underwater last month far more likely, according to a team of scientists
Climate change made the unprecedented monsoon rainfall that left one-third of Pakistan underwater last month far more likely, according to a team of scientists who analyzed the event.
The dramatic flooding killed nearly 1,500 people and caused an estimated $30 billion in damage, and it has left hundreds of thousands homeless. In August, the Sindh and Balochistan provinces both had their highest rainfall totals ever recorded for the month — about seven and eight times their typical monthly totals for precipitation.
The new analysis found such powerful rainfall could now be expected once every 100 years in the current climate and even more often in the future as the world continues to warm, researchers said at a news conference Thursday held by the World Weather Attribution initiative.
The initiative gathers scientists from around the world to analyze newsworthy weather events as quickly as possible and to help people understand climate change’s role when it’s most relevant. The analysis, which hasn’t undergone outside scientific review or publication in a scientific journal, relies on a methodology that is peer-reviewed and has been applied to many recent high-profile weather events. Such analyses are often published in journals months later.
Flooded residential areas after heavy monsoon rains in the Balochistan province of Pakistan on Sept. 5.Fida Hussain / AFP - Getty ImagesTo understand climate change’s fingerprint on the event, the researchers analyzed the yearly maximum for monsoon season rainfall over 60 days in the Indus River basin, where the flooding was centered. They also looked at the heaviest five-day period of monsoon rainfall in hard-hit Sindh and Balochistan.