August 24, 2010

pakistan floods and russian fires linked?

Russia has been reeling under heat wave that has no parallel in recorded history and some patches seem to have seen highest temperatures of a millennium. In large forest tracts, fires have been raging for weeks. Contrast this with very widespread and heavy floods in Pakistan and unusually heavy rains in the western part of India - both due to exceptional monsoon.

Though a clinching evidence is not available, many climate scientists feel that there is a correlation. The high temperatures in Russia is supposed to be the behavior of the jet stream. Jet stream is continuously blowing wind at high levels that travels east around the world and influences much of the weather below it. This time this wind is supposed to have been disturbed unusually by its regular shover called Rossby waves. Due to such factors, a persistent high pressure area has formed over Russia and this is not allowing formation of clouds. The surface heats up and gives up moisture, making the ground hotter and drier. Fires, heat, smoke remaining close to the ground, all fuel a heat cycle.

Now, it is believed that this pattern is somehow disturbing climate patterns over the Atlantic and southwards in the Middle East. A pattern generated due to this jet behavior is causing a layer of cold winds over the moisture laden warm winds of the monsoons. Where the two meet, it is leading to heavy precipitation, as in Pakistan.

No issues, if the pattern is on off. Such aberrations in climate patterns are rule rather than exception. But what worries is that many scientists and climatologists believe that such altered wind behaviors will be more common in future because of global warming.

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