Another flooding mega-disaster: Sri Lanka recovers from extreme flooding

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:14 PM GMT on January 19, 2011

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At least 43 are dead and thousands still in refugee camps due to extreme flooding in eastern Sri Lanka caused by record monsoon rains. According to the United Nations, the rains in recent weeks in Sri Lanka have been the heaviest in nearly 100 years of record keeping, and the flood that resulted was a 1-in-100 year event, according to The U.N. Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. Rainfall at Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, during the 42-day period December 1 - January 12 was 1606 mm (63"), which is about how much rain the station usually receives in an entire year (1651 mm, or 65".) Sri Lanka's previous most devastating flooding disaster was the 2004 tsunami, but as The Economist commented, "in terms of the numbers of people displaced and farmland inundated, the floods have been even more devastating than the tsunami of December 2004." Damage estimates start at $500 million, and much of Sri Lanka's agriculture has been severely damaged by the disaster. Also of concern is the large number of land mines from the recent Sri Lanka civil war that may have been unearthed by the floods. Water is also a major concern in the flood-hit area, as fighting between government forces and Tamil Tigers rebels from mid-2007 to May 2009 damaged or destroyed almost all of the water facilities.


Figure 1. A family affected by the 2011 Sri Lanka floods braves the flood waters. Image credit: United Nations.

Sri Lanka is now the fifth nation in the past six month to suffer a flooding disaster unprecedented in its history. As I reported in a previous post, the other four mega-impact floods--the July 2010 Pakistan floods, the December - January Queensland Australia floods, the November 2010 Colombia floods, and the January 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods--were all accompanied by an atmosphere laden with moisture, due, in part, due to sea surface temperatures over nearby ocean areas that were the 2nd or 3rd warmest on record. However, that was not the case for the Sri Lanka floods. Ocean temperatures during December 2010 were 0.2°C below average in the 5x5 degree square of ocean adjoining the island (5N - 10N, 80E - 85E). The floods appear to be due to the normal monsoon rains that typically affect the region this time of year, enhanced by the strong La Niña event occurring in the Eastern Pacific.


Figure 2. Satellite-estimated precipitation over Sri Lanka for January 3 - 9. Up to 18 inches (525 mm) fell over eastern Sri Lanka. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Jeff Masters

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what happen
was there a mass banning
real quiet
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Reality Check.


Energy from the Sun Has Not Increased


Global surface temperature (top, blue) and the Sun's energy received at the top of Earth's atmosphere (red, bottom). Solar energy has been measured by satellites since 1978.

The amount of solar energy received at the top of our atmosphere has followed its natural 11-year cycle of small ups and downs, but with no net increase. Over the same period, global temperature has risen markedly. This indicates that it is extremely unlikely that solar influence has been a significant driver of global temperature change over several decades.
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Whew ! I feel like the Aflac Duck.....
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return flow detected

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I have enjoyed our discussions. I thank each and everyone of you.
L8R
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Quoting KrippleCreekFerry:
I read that some experts say our increase in hot sauce usage is contributing to GW.


Hmmmmm. You would think it burn off the methane. LOL
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Quoting Surfcropper:


how many inches in a mile?


5,280'/mile
12"/foot
12 x 5280 = 63,360
63,360 Why?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
more rain to come with systems dropping down and crossing the gulf over fla till the end of the month if it plays out the way its showing





That's great news to hear. Speaking of storms, the storm that's expected to shoot to the NE dumped 2' of snow out in Breckenridge. Great for the snowboarders and skiers.
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Quoting oracle28:


Really, what brings you to that conclusion.

I would bet that a 2 inch increase in the sun's diameter would heat things up by .1 C or whatever the consensus temp rise has been.


OK, I'll bite. The Sun's approximate diameter is now 857,492.2 miles. What happens when you add 2 inches to that diameter?
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I have. Not much weather discussion there
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Well here's something off-topic that you'll like.

Your tax dollars at work:

Link

Idaho computer geeks helped destroy uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran....How funny is that?

But what if you used dry ice?


Dry ice would result in global drying, and I'm opposed to that.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yes it will, but over billions of years and not over the few centuries we have been discussing.


Really, what brings you to that conclusion.

I would bet that a 2 inch increase in the sun's diameter would heat things up by .1 C or whatever the consensus temp rise has been.

2-inches wider isn't much, especially right after the holidays
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Quoting JupiterKen:
Weather Bolg?

That's the second time you've asked that today. Here, try this link.
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A hole to another dimension has formed.
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Weather Bolg?
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A sun spot has burned off a perfect circumference layer of the clouds  lol
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Check out the hole opening up over western Alabama!!! on visible satellite. It's a conspiracy going on out there!!
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Well here's something off-topic that you'll like.

Your tax dollars at work:

Link

Idaho computer geeks helped destroy uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran....How funny is that?

But what if you used dry ice?


Well, at least not all of our tax dollars are wasted.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Idaho, I seldom agree with you, but I like your sense of humor. I'll give you 10 points!
Well here's something off-topic that you'll like.

Your tax dollars at work:

Link

Idaho computer geeks helped destroy uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran....How funny is that?

Quoting oracle28:


I always dump my extra ice on the ground, just to slow the warming. I call it localized man-made global cooling.
But what if you used dry ice?
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Quoting oracle28:


Maybe sun growth is causing the global warming.


Yes it will, but over billions of years and not over the few centuries we have been discussing.
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Quoting HIPPOCRITT:
I blasted my AC in my car with the windows down earlier. I hope I have reversed all this Global Warming mumbo jumbo talk :\


What? Don't back away on me now. I was just about to open my thesaurus!

Just kidding. Regardless of what you say, you do invoke thought. I appreciate that. Thanks.
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Quoting caneswatch:
Finally got the internet back running at the house. Now, it's a little warm, about 10 degrees above normal here in S FL. Finally got rain again, and a decent amount from Monday afternoon to early this morning.
more rain to come with systems dropping down and crossing the gulf over fla till the end of the month if it plays out the way its showing



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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
look at it this way NE there is only 60 days left of winter then its spring


well,if I wasn't depressed by this weather before,I am now.Thanks!!
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Finally got the internet back running at the house. Now, it's a little warm, about 10 degrees above normal here in S FL. Finally got rain again, and a decent amount from Monday afternoon to early this morning.
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Quoting NEwxguy:
Keeper,I sure hope that comes to pass for February,we desperately need some relief,which for the foreseeable future we are still going to continue to get nailed up here.


You need the relief, we need the rain. That is as simple as it is, a lot of stuff here is turning brown, not good for South Florida.
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Quoting JFLORIDA:
Also I think Some1Has2BtheRookie's answer was rather splendid in its reasoning and example. On several layers.


Thank you, JFLORIDA. I greatly appreciate that.
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Well the TPS reports are done.

Heading to Henry's to Quaff a few.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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