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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I know its Wikipedia, but there are some very intersting tid bits here.

Link

This is not always the case, but they do show some correlation between people with more education, trend to be more aware of Climate change.

"In China, 98% of those who have completed four years or more of college education reported knowing something or a great deal of climate change while only 63% of those who have completed nine years of education reported the same. Despite the differences in awareness in China, all groups perceive a low level of threat from global warming. In India those who are educated are likewise more likely to be aware, however those who are educated there are far more likely to report perceiving global warming as a threat than those who are not educated.[4]"

But this is what worries me, after 2008 or so just by U.S. standards, the average Joe believes Climate Change to be "Exaggerated" but there are a lot of different view points on how Americans are veiwing this challenge.

Link

Over the previous 10 yrs. 1998-2008. People believe Climate Change will be seen as a serious threat with 25% to 40% increase saying yes; however, within 2008-2009 that dropped back down to 38%. This is just within the U.S.

But they break down many Global threats which at least shows that people are getting the idea that we need to start changing the way we live.

So preach on Neo.
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Quoting Skyepony:
Ike~ You could compost those leaves & use it for fertilizer. I compost everything I can. People pay me cash & home grown fruit for my compost. It's free fertilized dirt for the organic garden too. Compost happens.. you can lay it down in layers~ brown, green, brown, green..etc, let nature do it's thing. 6 months later you've got a bed to grow some organic food. Really easier than bagging leaves for the trash guys & going to the grocery store.

Along those same lines, check starbucks in the mornings, and if they aren't busy, ask for their leftover coffee grounds. (they sometimes place them on the counter in silver 10-lb bags, too). Used coffee grounds are incredible fertilizer, and great if you have slightly alkaline soil, as they add some acidity, and a boatload of nutrients... and they are FREE.
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104. BDAwx
In my opinion, the climate is constantly changing and it is either warming or cooling. Therefore at any one point in time there is either global warming or cooling. Now with that in mind the argument isn't whether or not there is global warming, because there is overwhelming evidence in support of it, but whether or not it is human caused, or whether or not it threatens life.
Recent examples of unprecedented deadly flooding and heat waves are prime for demonstrating the threat that the change in the Earth's climate is having on humans. Do we sit back and accept that there is nothing we can do about it, or do we blame ourselves in hope to do something that could potentially help save lives? I don't understand why some people just don't get it. Its not like changing light bulbs out to more energy efficient ones is really going that far out of your way, in fact it even saves you money in your energy bills pretty much right away. Just as an easy example. I'm just saying.

Sorry for stirring the pot, just had to say it!
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The United Nations has appealed for emergency aid to help victims of flood-hit Sri Lanka.

At least 38 people have lost their lives and many others are still missing.

Crops have been severely damaged and thousands of people are now homesless.

Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa reports from one of the worst hit districts.

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Quoting Skyepony:


Living like a total food snob..Growing all the veggies & most the fruit the family eats. Getting into chickens & fish next. So nice not eating food sprayed with pesticides or genetically modified to live through several sprayings of round up..for about free. If your eating the processed American diet your getting some round up. 80% of corn & many other veggies are now "round up ready"..Bon Apitiete!

Driving vehicles with the best mpg we could afford. One payed for itself in less than 3 years from gas savings compared to the car it replaced..

Sealed up the house, (it's amazing how much $80 in caulk can save you), replaced the old leaky ducts, kept investing my savings into new energy efficient appliances. Now I have new appliances that have already payed for themselves (including AC unit) & a bunch of extra money I could have gave to the oil, food & energy giants.. I'm thinking solar next.

If I didn't live green, I'd need a job, be eating crap for food & have a bunch of old appliances.
Ya'll bent on living business as usual~ it is going to rob your wallet.

Skye - That is how it shoudl be done. My wife and I just bought a new house (well, start of last year), and one of our qualifications is that it is energy-efficient. We paid extra for Tek-shield in the attic, double-paned low-e windows, a very efficient A/C unit, extra insulation, etc. Our highest electric bill this summer (in Houston, TX) was $120, for a two story house. (and yes, we use 100% green energy)

We drive small cars, and all future cars will get 30+ mpg (35 if we can get it), and be hybrids if possible. Growing our own food, while difficult to keep it organic, not only saves us money, but allows us to live even more green (and they keep a lot longer in storage).

So many people focus on fossil fuels to live green... but more people need to think like you and I, and live sustainably. If anyone needs some ideas, I posted some on my blog a while back (its the most recent post on there).
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100. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Xyrus2000:


Precisely. From unknown governor in Alaska to extreme right wing power princess in a handful of years.

People are very easy to manipulate, and you certainly don't need scientists to do it. In fact, they'd get in the way.

A really successful worldwide conspiracy would never make itself publicly open to debate or review. They would act behind the scenes, while putting charismatic individuals in seats of power to slowly bend world policy and perceptions to their will. Over time, they would convince the people to act in their own worst interests to further secure their positions of wealth and power. But you'd only see the pretty person parade, you'd never see the people behind them.


Quoting HIPPOCRITT:
I left my refrigerator door open this morning. Just doing my part to stop Global Warming.


hhhhhhmmm
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Quoting LoveStormsatNight:
I can predict that this July will be warmer than this January. In fact, I will predict that July will be warmer than January in every reporting station in the contiguous 48 of the USA. That's part of the climate.

People who don't know much about weather and climate have a tendency to confuse them.

I don't claim to be an expert on weather or climate,but as I said before,its not getting any warmer at my house(by that I mean the thermometer on the tree). Besides every record reported by weather recording stations always state (since records have been kept). which is what since 1880 in most cases. If they said 5,000 years ,then we might have something to worry about!
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thanks for the video, Pat...
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Quoting jwh250:
US Agencies Still Fiddling Temperature Record, Reports SPPI

NASA and NOAA, which each receive close to half a billion dollars a year in taxpayer funding, have been systematically fiddling the worldwide temperature record for years, making “global warming” look worse than it is, according to a new paper by the Science and Public Policy Institute. The findings are reported by Joe D’Aleo, a leading meteorologist.


SPPI = Sham. Their research is not peer reviewed. Their methods are not open. Their funding sources are not declared. And they have no backing of any respectable climate science organization.

You could always refer to actual published research papers by skeptics instead of posting this psuedo-scientific garbage. Unfortunately, you won't find any REAL skeptic research paper claiming that global warming is a hoax/conspiracy.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
Calamity Knows no Borders,,only mens minds and Maps do.



Earthquake



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so, we're already off of the earthquake in Pakistan and onto bigger and better disasters? Not even a mention of it in today's header? Do floods outrank earthquakes? is that like rock outranks scissors?
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Quoting Skyepony:


It's better than getting a real job, being a corporate knob & eating crap.. Are some people just afraid of leisure & money or just that brainwashed they can't make anything & must give all their money to corporations?


Thats a good point skye.

We buy Local Seafood weekly,,and try to by all our veggies from Local Growers.


Mass Transit serves NOLA well,,and we only Drive the Boy to school one way.

He rides home with a local schoolmate.


Corporations run rampant with Tax Breaks,,outsourcing and PR slants like BP in the GOM.

Alls well if they say so,,but let some rumor of Truth come to light with Known facts,studies and obs,,then its all conspiracy.

Go Fig'ya
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Quoting overwash12:
Science,we can not even predict the weather 1 week in advance,how can you say in 10,20,30 years we will be 1 to 3 degrees warmer. A volcano might erupt tomorrow and block out the sun for months causing a mini ice age,then what agw caused that too!


You know, even reading an elementary introduction to climate science would answer your questions. Climate does not equal weather, and vice versa.I you were actually motivated to learn, there are dozens of good books on the subject of climatology.

Climatological projections are based on assumptions of what our activities are now and may be in the future. They make it quite clear that the projections do not take into account extreme events such as massive volcanic eruptions or asteroid impacts.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
85. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting Patrap:
Skyepony walks the talk..and with pride.


It's better than getting a real job, being a corporate knob & eating crap.. Are some people just afraid of leisure & money or just that brainwashed they can't make anything & must give all their money to corporations?
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Quoting HIPPOCRITT:
Man how interesting would it be if the earth started a cooling trend in 2011 for 10 years. I guess then we'd spend billions of dollars trying to warm the earth back up to 'stabilize' the climate, like we can control what the earth does anyways.


Thanks for the laughs, you are a funny man!

Everyone does realise the only chance to prove AGW is a hoax is to pour a lot more money into climate research? If funding were to stop today, the science would stop and the current consensus of man-made warming would be the de facto science for decades to come ;)
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for years my husband has used the leaves as mulch. it works great.
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Quoting Patrap:


Take Sarah Palin for example.



Precisely. From unknown governor in Alaska to extreme right wing power princess in a handful of years.

People are very easy to manipulate, and you certainly don't need scientists to do it. In fact, they'd get in the way.

A really successful worldwide conspiracy would never make itself publicly open to debate or review. They would act behind the scenes, while putting charismatic individuals in seats of power to slowly bend world policy and perceptions to their will. Over time, they would convince the people to act in their own worst interests to further secure their positions of wealth and power. But you'd only see the pretty person parade, you'd never see the people behind them.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
Science,we can not even predict the weather 1 week in advance,how can you say in 10,20,30 years we will be 1 to 3 degrees warmer. A volcano might erupt tomorrow and block out the sun for months causing a mini ice age,then what agw caused that too!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
77. Skyepony (Mod)
Ike~ You could compost those leaves & use it for fertilizer. I compost everything I can. People pay me cash & home grown fruit for my compost. It's free fertilized dirt for the organic garden too. Compost happens.. you can lay it down in layers~ brown, green, brown, green..etc, let nature do it's thing. 6 months later you've got a bed to grow some organic food. Really easier than bagging leaves for the trash guys & going to the grocery store.
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


And when you can't come up with a logical argument, you fall back on conspiracy, character assisination, ad hominem, and other fallacies.

You have yet to provide a single source of verifiable proof that there is a global world wide conspiracy going on.

But what do climatologist gain by trying to form a world wide conspiracy of this magnitude? Why climate science, when other branches of science are more well funded and would be easier to fool the general populace?

Even if I subscribed to conspiracy theories (which I don't), using climate science as a tool for world domination or whatever just doesn't make logical sense. There are more convenient routes to money and power.


Who said anything about conspiracies?

In their perverted world, disclaimers make it all better.

In the real world, its called bad science.


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Quoting Neapolitan:

2011 will likely be cooler overall than 2010, which was a record warm year. If anyone wishes to call that a sign of global cooling, they're free to do so--though they'll have to do so by ignoring the simple fact that climate is about long-term trends, not year-to-year changes. And those long-term trends point toward a warming planet.
I don't call it a sign of Global Cooling.
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73. IKE
For those that answered my question...thanks for answering.
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Quoting txag91met:
It is warming from CO2...no arguing that.

But next year should cool off by .4C compared to last year. Even if the La Nina weakens.

2011 will likely be cooler overall than 2010, which was a record warm year. If anyone wishes to call that a sign of global cooling, they're free to do so--though they'll have to do so by ignoring the simple fact that climate is about long-term trends, not year-to-year changes. And those long-term trends point toward a warming planet.
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
the earth is pretty old. so all the past climate changes would be blamed on what, the wrath of god?


No, the past societies that destroyed themselves, without a trace.
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Quoting calusakat:


Sorry to differ with you.

The research and science (AGW) to which you refer is based on falsified and altered data that has been molded to fit a preconceived view or bias.

Remember, all they have to do is provide a disclaimer and all that falsified data is rendered 'true and accurate', as if by magic.

The blind faith is the Lords of AGW way of doing things.




And when you can't come up with a logical argument, you fall back on conspiracy, character assisination, ad hominem, and other fallacies.

You have yet to provide a single source of verifiable proof that there is a global world wide conspiracy going on.

But what do climatologist gain by trying to form a world wide conspiracy of this magnitude? Why climate science, when other branches of science are more well funded and would be easier to fool the general populace?

Even if I subscribed to conspiracy theories (which I don't), using climate science as a tool for world domination or whatever just doesn't make logical sense. There are more convenient routes to money and power.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
It is warming from CO2...no arguing that.

But next year should cool off by .4C compared to last year. Even if the La Nina weakens.
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Quoting WaterWitch11:
the earth is pretty old. so all the past climate changes would be blamed on what, the wrath of god?


Google paleoclimatology.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Global Warming seems nothing more than political propaganda. It's an absolute joke. Natural disasters have been occurring on this planet long before any of us were here. Just like temperature trends. Post #4 sums it up rather nicely.


You mean like how Obama is a socialist fascist non-citizen?

Strange how it seems that ONLY climate science is political. What about medical research? Energy research? What about agricultural science? Why aren't they political? They should be, even more so than climate science considering the money going to medical research groups and companies dwarfs climate science by an order of magnitude.

And why, exactly, would anyone use climate science for political gain? Why would anyone waste the time and effort to try and manipulate world government through climate science when there are far easier and more direct ways to do so?

You seem to be confused. Science is performed in a rigorous peer-reviewed environment by experts in their respective fields. That being said, any idiot can participate in politics.

Which, of course, is part of the problem.

Sorry, but conspiracy theories just make you sound like truthers and birthers. They bring nothing of use to the conversation, and honestly only make you look like fool who can't bring to bear any sort of a cogent logical scientific argument.
Member Since: October 31, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 1225
Skyepony walks the talk..and with pride.
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62. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting IKE:
For the record, I haven't avoided my opinion on GW. I believe it exists. Is it reversable? Maybe. Could I be wrong? Yes. Do I feel like sitting here all day everyday trying to convince the non-believers? No. Maybe they're right.

Everyone has a right to an opinion. What I would like to know is...of the believers...what are you doing to curb GW?


Living like a total food snob..Growing all the veggies & most the fruit the family eats. Getting into chickens & fish next. So nice not eating food sprayed with pesticides or genetically modified to live through several sprayings of round up..for about free. If your eating the processed American diet your getting some round up. 80% of corn & many other veggies are now "round up ready"..Bon Apitiete!

Driving vehicles with the best mpg we could afford. One payed for itself in less than 3 years from gas savings compared to the car it replaced..

Sealed up the house, (it's amazing how much $80 in caulk can save you), replaced the old leaky ducts, kept investing my savings into new energy efficient appliances. Now I have new appliances that have already payed for themselves (including AC unit) & a bunch of extra money I could have gave to the oil, food & energy giants.. I'm thinking solar next.

If I didn't live green, I'd need a job, be eating crap for food & have a bunch of old appliances.
Ya'll bent on living business as usual~ it is going to rob your wallet.
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Quoting Xyrus2000:


You make this sound like a question of faith, which it isn't. It is a question of science.

Th closest comparison would be Intelligent Design. You have copious amounts of research and science on one side, and you have faith on the other.

The same stunts are being pulled regardless. And again, it's not the first time this has happened in regards to climatological findings (see what happened with the ozone hole research).


Sorry to differ with you.

The research and science (AGW) to which you refer is based on falsified and altered data that has been molded to fit a preconceived view or bias.

Remember, all they have to do is provide a disclaimer and all that falsified data is rendered 'true and accurate', as if by magic.

The blind faith is the Lords of AGW way of doing things.


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Quoting IKE:


And what are you doing about GW to curb it?

I've responded to this same question about a million times here, sometimes giving all the boring details. I do a lot to cut my carbon footprint at home, at work, at play, wherever and whenever. Like anyone else--and I do mean anyone--I can probably do better, and I strive to do so.

But as I've also stated before, it's not simply enough for each of us who care to do our own part; there is a huge campaign, well-funded by corporate (mostly fossil fuel) interests to spread anti-science misinformation and disinformation, and they've been sadly successful judging by some of the writings one sees here and elsewhere. Because of that, I've made it a personal goal of mine to combat that campaign wherever, whenever, and however I can. Yes, I know I'm tilting at ginormous oil- and coal-powered windmills--but I can't just sit idly by while my home is trashed by those who place profit and politics ahead of people. I just can't. I doubt that I've convinced anyone; I'm aware I'm just one small man shoveling, er, egesta against the contrarian tide. But so be it.
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Quoting Inyo:
People, global warming is important stuff but please don't forget the other reason floods have been increasing lately: degradation of watersheds.

We have no hope against more frequent storm events caused by global warming, if we don't get our watersheds in better condition.
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Ike, you have a really good grip on reality. I think some of the others do not.

Especially the one who is coughing up phlegm all the time.
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.