Among the extreme weather events of summer 2010, the extensive floods in Pakistan and their widespread impacts garnered maximum attention in the media as well as in the scientific community.
Several climate scientists expressed concern about such weather extremes becoming more common with future climate change, while the WMO (World Meteorological Organization) issued a statement that the weather related cataclysms of July and August ( 2010) fit patterns predicted by climate scientists.
The extensive damage due to floods and plight of thousands of people marooned over waterlogged areas were graphically covered in heart-wrenching details by most newspapers and TV news stories in Canada. Per latest estimates, the floods have claimed over 1500 human fatalities so far and over two million more have been rendered homeless. From a personal perspective, the TV footage of women & children in knee-deep water brought back poignant memories of a similar situation I witnessed in Pune, my former home-town (a city 200 km southeast of Mumbai, the largest Indian city on the west coast) in July 1961 when incessant monsoon rains in the first week of July 1961 led to the breaking of a dam resulting in massive flooding of the city, destroying hundreds of homes and drowning dozens of people living along the riverside.
Several other cities and regions suffered from similar flooding during the 1961 summer monsoon. As it turned out, the 1961 summer monsoon over India and vicinity was the rainiest monsoon season in the 150-year instrument data which caused extensive flooding and loss of life and property in many regions of the country (India Meteorological Department 1962). This year’s monsoon has been quite vigorous since the third week of July 2010 and heavy rains have caused flooding in the peninsular regions of India and also in the northwest regions bordering with Pakistan. Has the vigorous Indian monsoon of 2010 led to the historic floods in Pakistan? Let us briefly consider the monsoon climatology.
to download PDF file - 2010 Pakistan Floods: Climate Change or Natural Variability? by Madhav L Khandekar