Natural disaster is getting affected by climate change

Natural disasters are parts of the environment since the earth has taken birth. Natural disasters are basically an adverse event that occurs on the surface of the earth due to the natural process of earth. Some natural disasters occur due to non-climatic reasons like earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, etc. But some of the natural disasters are directly related to earth’s climate system like hurricanes, floods, wildfires, etc.  Both types of natural calamities are occurring on earth from long time ago. But we are seeing some drastic change in the disaster which occurs due to climatic reasons. These types of natural disasters are getting more and more frequent year by year. More frequent floods, more wildfires, more frequent droughts. The catastrophic situation is getting normal. But this normal is not good for us. We are getting very close to emergency situations all over the world. The main reason for this drastic situation is climate change and global warming. From the industrial era, our global temperature is increasing faster than normal due to more greenhouse gas emissions. This affects natural disasters and make them frequent and more catastrophic. There are 5 natural disasters which are most affected by the effects of climate change. The following are the 5 disasters and how they are influenced by climate change.

Flood:

One natural disaster which is having a significant increase in its frequency and intensity is flood. Flood is basically overflow of water on the land region. These situations occur due to the overflow of water bodies like rivers, lakes, oceans. It may also take place due to accumulation of water due to heavy rainfall. Floods are alway been a natural disaster faced by many regions of the earth. This flood is basically a part of the climate system. But year by year the floods are proven to be more catastrophic specifically in some regions. Catastrophic flood result in deaths of animals and humans, damage to houses and other public properties, etc. These events are more catastrophic in recent years. Flood in Venice Italy are getting more frequent and intense. The reason behind it is known to be high tides. Catastrophic flood situation is also faced by Indian subcontinent, more specifically, India and Bangladesh which is a common natural disaster in the region but getting more frequent.. People in Bangladesh are migrating from some region because of this emergency situation. Cold desert in India known as Ladakh is also facing floods like situation in frequent years, although it is a low rainfall region. And many other region in this world is facing a situation like this. The image below is the graph of heavy rainfall event of specific decade in India.
Number of flood events in india
But how climate change is responsible for this? Floods are very dependent on the climate. This climate is responsible for the water cycle. Due to global warming the average temperature of earth is rising. Higher temperature leads to more evaporation of water, leading to higher and denser cloud formation. This denser cloud formatting leads to heavy rain in the region leading to natural disasters like this. Global warming also affects the earth’s atmospheric circulation. This atmospheric circulation leads to more cloud formation in specific region. This lead to more catastrophic rainfall in the area. The another reason for intense flood is sea level rise. The sea level rise is taking place due to global warming. Increasing temperature is resulting in melting of arctic ice which is increasing the sea level of the earth. This situation is so dangerous that the smaller island nations Kiribati, Mauritius, etc. will be underwater in a few decades. Thus flood is one of the natural disasters which is severely affected by climate change.

 Drought:

Some regions of the earth face severe rainfall and cause flood but not all. Some regions are also affected by extremely low rainfall. If low or no rainfall continued for a longer time, then the situation that appears is known as drought which is a natural disaster. Drought may not look like a violent natural disaster which comes unknowingly and left a disastrous situation. But still the consequences of the drought becomes very harsh for the people and animals living in the region. Drought affects almost everything in the region, damage to crop in the region, water scarcity, shortage of food, damage to the ecosystem.  This results in death of people, animals, farmer suicide, etc. Drought can stay for months and even stay for years. This can lead to catastrophic situation like mass migration from the region and can be a humanitarian crisis. Like other natural disasters, the drought is also a climatic condition which is taking place from a long time ago and some regions are always been drought prone. But now the situation is getting more and more intense. The current intensity of the drought is linked to climate change and thus the reason behind it is the rising global temperature of the earth. A constant increase in greenhouse gas emissions is rising global temperature which results in increase of moisture evaporation from land, rivers, lakes and other water bodies in India. Increased evaporation in the plane soil, affects plants and reduces rainfall. Dry soil become less able to absorb the water and can create condition of heavy rainfall in the region as a flood like situation. Dry drought like this situation can even lead to other natural disaster like wildfires / bushfires. If the global temperature kept increasing on earth then we may see more and more intense drought in the future.

Wildfires:

Wildfires are naturally occurring forest fires. It is a natural disaster which includes grassland fires bushfires, desert fires, hill fires, etc.  There are millions of wildfires all over the world occurring every year. They have started taking place from 420 million years ago. These fires are a very natural thing for the earth’s ecosystem and the reason behind this is a favourable condition like rich in oxygen, carbon-rich, dry climate for specific season and even lightening. Some species survive and adapted to these types of wildfires. Thus not having wildfires in the ecosystem and elimination of wildfires will not be a good idea. But the wildfires also come with some bad news. Extreme wildfires can result in the damage like damage to houses, death of people, death of animals, and also can result in lots of carbon emissions. Extreme wildfires are increasing all over the world day by day. Wildfires and dry season are staying for a longer time than average. This natural disasters are also getting uncontrollable. In 2019, amazon wildfires was extremer than ever before. California’s wildfires was taking place for a longer time. Even Siberia, which is known as one of the coldest places, also faced a forest fires. And the most catastrophic fire of 2019 was Australian bushfires. Approximately 25 people died, and many houses were burned and approximately 1 billion animals died including kangaroos and koalas. The catastrophic situation polluted the water, sky appeared to be red, polluted air made uneasy form the people to breathe. Bushfires like this where never as dangerous as it was this year. The below image is showing how major fires in australia is increased
Number of major fires per decade
There are many points where we can say climate change was directly linked to this natural disaster. And the most important point is weather. Climate change has its biggest influence on earth weather pattern. Due to this, Many areas faced situation of heavy rainfall and even dry and drought like situation. Extreme wildfire’s area where faced more severely with dry season, most importantly in Australia. This dry season work as a fuel for wildfires. Climate is even influencing earth’s wind, the speed of wind is also increasing which provides oxygen to the fires. More oxygen, the greater the fire. This lead to faster spread of fire in the region. Constantly increasing temperature also works positively for wildfires. Thus, natural disasters like wildfires is also having an impact on climate change from various aspects

Hurricanes:

Hurricanes also known as tropical cyclone is a rotating storm having high speed wind. These natural disaster occurs in tropical (the Area of earth near the equator and between the tropic of cancer and tropic of Capricorn) and subtropical region. This rotating storm is known as a hurricane when it reaches a speed of 74 m (Approx. 119 Km) per hour. These hurricanes have a low pressure zone in the middle.The warm water evaporates with the air and condenses into cloud in the higher altitude. The wind keep chasing the low pressure region in the middle and when the wind reaches 74 miles per hour then it called hurricane which is a natural disaster and can create a catastrophic situation if arrives at land. It can lead to a lot of destruction. The link between hurricanes and climate change is complex, but they are surely related to the ocean’s temperature. Warm water is the energy that feeds the ocean temperature and global warming is the reason behind increased ocean temperature. When both the water temperature and the temperature of the sea rises, Oceans water starts evaporating into the atmosphere. This buildup air moisture which contribute to an increase in extreme rainfall.   For every 1.8°F increase in global temperatures there is a seven percent increase in the moisture-holding capacity of the atmosphere. Thus, natural disasters like hurricanes can relate to climate change and we can see more disastrous hurricanes in the future.

Heatwave:

The heatwave is a spell of excessive hot weather which can take place for a specific season and humidity is also one of the factors in it. The heatwave may not sound very dangerous, but the heat waves can create some dangerous situations. It can lead to damage to the crop, heat related illness and can cause many deaths from heat due to hyperthermia. Thus heatwave can count as a natural disaster. 

Rising of global average temperature is the factor which is linked to climate change. Increase of heat due to heavy release of greenhouse gases are making heatwave more and severer and frequent. If no action taken to cut down this emission increase the number of heatwave per year. The current heatwave in India, Europe, and other region caused significant damage.

Thus, a natural disaster like heatwave may not sound like a “natural disaster”. But it may kill many people than compared to other calamities as a human is unable to naturally cool down itself if it gets too warm.

Conclusion:

These five natural disasters are very well linked to climate change. This affected natural disasters by making it more intense and more frequent. Year after year these natural disasters is having very catastrophic consequences resulting in death of people and animals, destruction of property, damage to crops, food shortage, heavy rainfall, water shortage. And the reason behind climate change is us. Every year the rate of greenhouse gas emission is increasing making the planet more and warmer. Natural disasters are making us pay for it. We need to move toward sustainable energy as fast as possible.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thank you! southeastern Texas has had five 500 year floods the last 5 years! I appreciate you

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