Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The spread of the super-monsoon

The recent floods in Pakistan have led to questions that should have been answered a year and a half ago when catastrophic bushfires and two weeks of record high temperatures in southern Australia combined with extreme flooding in Queensland.

What people like Ian Smith have shown is the a poleward shift in the Hadley circulation has caused a movement of climate belts approaching ten degrees of latitude since the 1970s. In effect, the pre-settlement climate of Kalumburu is now located near Wolfe Creek, that of Kakadu now near the Barkly region, that of Charleville now in Melbourne, and that of Carnarvon now near Perth. The boundary of the climatological “tropics” in terms of tropospheric height has shifted from around 25˚N and ˚S to 35˚N and ˚S since 1975, and what paleoclimate data exists suggests that it will most likely settle around 45˚N and ˚S. Such a shift would mean the end for Mediterranean climates and a major shift in the arid and monsoonal belts.

Moreover, if one thinks about it seriously, it would most definitely mean more monsoonal rain in Pakistan. Since the Himalayas restricts the passage of the monsoon northwards, unless monsoonal cells can begin to form over Western Asia or Central Asia this will mean a very intense cell over northwestern Pakistan, into which strong winds are drawn with the result that Pakistan receives extremely heavy rain, as would Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry gives clear evidence that, like in Australia, the monsoon belt is changing with reference to the heavy rains in North West Frontier Province:
The only explanation can be the link to climate change. Because that area very rarely receives monsoon rains
The very heavy rainfall over the northern edge of the monsoon belt in Liáoníng does suggest that there is a strong tendency towards more powerful Asian monsoons

Other sources say that rainfall in northwestern China – historically an arid zone – has increased by 33 percent since 1961 (less than observed increases in northwestern and central-western Australia, but relative to natural variability more). This, like the increase over central-western Australia, is almost certainly related to the growth of a super monsoon because, at the very least, more unstable air comes in from the east.

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