Climate

Predicting Droughts and Floods: Ways to Prevent Loss of Life

Global Warming on the Earth

Severe weather events that have devastating consequences like extreme droughts, ravaging floods, and widespread tornados are becoming commonplace in our world. These events do not differentiate between first- and third-world countries.

Bluntly stated, and if we had to give these catastrophic events the ability to think and have emotions, they do not care which country they strike and what the consequences are. They are no respecter of persons, properties, food sources, and animals.

It is also a given that these catastrophic events are here to stay. The predominant argument for this reasoning is climate change and the impact it is having on the global climate.

The primary cause of severe weather events

According to an article published on www.nationalgeographic.com, “human activity is driving climate change, including global temperature rise.”

And, the rise in global temperatures, especially the sea temperatures, are the primary drivers of the increase of the severity and number of severe weather events like hurricanes and typhoons.

Furthermore, the rise in global temperatures can cause prolonged heat waves that result in the following:

Extreme drought conditions where the food sources of entire regions and countries are wiped out causing famines where people (and animals) starve to death from the lack of sustainable food.

Heavy downpours that increase the risk of flash floods, urban floods, and coastal and river floods. It is interesting that the same rise in the earth’s surface temperatures can cause both droughts and extremely heavy rainfall. However, it is true. They are both caused by increased evaporation from plant and tree leaves as well as natural water sources.

It must be noted at this juncture that, while it is accepted within scientific, governmental, and research communities that global warming one of the primary causes of the increase in the intensity and frequency of severe weather events, there are naysayers (like Donald Trump, the president of the USA) that do not accept this position as being valid. However, an in-depth discussion on this point is not relevant to this conversation.

Ways to reduce the destructive effects of droughts and floods on the global population

The core theme of this article and the question that must be asked and answered is how to reduce the destructive consequences of the severe droughts and floods that various regions in the world are currently experiencing.

By way of answering this question, let’s consider the following points (in no particular order):

Improving predictive capabilities

The more accurately these catastrophic events can be predicted, the more time local and regional governmental organizations have to evacuate the population living in the target areas. An exciting solution to this challenge is currently being investigated by researchers or earth scientists from Vanderbilt University.

Succinctly stated, they have discovered that by analyzing the last fifty years of stalagmite growth in Mawmluh Cave, Meghalaya, North-East India, they have found a “connection between winter (dry season) rainfall amounts in North-East India and climatic conditions in the Pacific Ocean.” These scientists believe that this discovery will allow them to predict whether the seasonal rainfall in the region will be high or low for a particular year.

As an aside, Meghalaya is considered to be the area with the highest rainfall in the world.

Reducing the earth’s temperatures

As mentioned above, it is commonly believed that global warming is caused by different types of human activity, including the lack of respect for the environment. Therefore, it makes sense that the way to reduce global warming is to reduce the human carbon footprint on the earth.

Of course, this is easier said than done, especially as some of the world’s global powers refuse to participate in any activities that will reduce the earth’s temperature.

We live in an industrialized world where the need for natural resources far outweighs the earth’s ability to reproduce these resources timeously. Coal-fired electricity-generation plants are one of the world’s most significant air pollution contributors. Even though there are renewable resources and capabilities to generate electricity like solar panels, it is cheaper and easier to continue burning coal, especially dirty coal, to generate electricity.

Global authorities are considering the question of what will happen when the world’s coal resources run out. However, it does not seem as though this fact is being taken seriously enough. Otherwise, there would be a concerted effort to move from coal-fired generation plants to the generation of electricity via natural resources.

Final thoughts

This conversation is a seemingly infinite topic with no simple solutions. And, while global politicians’ bicker over whether their countries should be involved in measures to reduce the earth’s temperature and to prevent global warming, these severe weather events will continue to intensify both in frequency and intensity.

Therefore, it makes logical sense for local and international environmental lobby groups to continue to petition governments to prioritize the reduction of the adverse effects of global warming on the earth.

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Lata Bhattacharjee

Lata is an Editor of Nature Talkies and a blogger, mom and freelance writer.

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