Extreme weather — from Hurricane Katrina to the earthquakes in Japan – is captivating in the way that few things are, and its effects are oftentimes dramatic and devastating. So much so that rising tides and flooding can fade from view at times. But recently, Sir Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the U.K. told The Guardian that, “If you had to pick one particular issue I think the flooding issue is the most dominant.”
Flooding continues to wreak havoc around the world: from low-lying areas in the U.S. (like Norfolk, Va., which is the subject of our upcoming broadcast) to the island nation of the Maldives, where coastal erosion threatens to submerge the country under water. When the waters rise, the mass exodus that ensues can lead to a trecherous journey for thousands of displaced people. Last year in Sri Lanka, flooding affected a million people, resulting in the death of 23. Monsoons in Pakistan in 2010 created ‘heart-wrenching’ disaster for some 20 million residents. (See images of the flooded zones here.)
While the cause-and-effect link between human activity and climate change remains a hot-button issue, many scientists are in agreement that human behaviors have contributed to global warming. And a 2011 study in Nature directly linked rising greenhouse-gas levels with the growing intensity of rain and snow in the Northern Hemisphere, and the increased risk of flooding in the United Kingdom.
We want to hear from you about this issue. Do you live in a low-lying area threatened by floods? Do you think climate change has affected your habitat? If so, how?