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  • Pakistan floods rival earthquakes, tsunamis in severity

    Pakistan floods rival earthquakes, tsunamis in severity

    By Abdul Haque Chang, Anthropology Ph.D. student
    Abdul Haque Chang, Anthropology Ph.D. student
    Published: Oct. 22, 2010

    No one imagined the thirsty land of Pakistan would see massive devastation due to an excess of water. A Fulbright Scholar and grad student makes a plea for support.

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      Lynn said on Feb. 19, 2012 at 8:00 p.m.
      I hope that there will be more updates to this as Chang does his research in Sindh. Let's keep this topic going, as catastrophes too easily leave the public eye soon after they occur. I would disagree with the UN comparison of the floods in Pakistan with Haiti as the former's having a greater level of disaster. The loss of life, home, and livelihood in both cases is devastating. In the case of Haitian earthquake, 158,000-316,000 people were killed during the event itself. This does not measure its aftermath, and we need research like Chang's to be able to talk about the long term effects of these disasters.
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      Jennifer Doherty said on Jan. 6, 2012 at 3:49 p.m.
      While the Earth has always endured natural climate change variability, we are now facing the possibility of irreversible climate change in the near future. The increase of greenhouse gases in the Earth?s atmosphere from industrial processes has enhanced the natural greenhouse effect. This in turn has accentuated the greenhouse ?trap? effect, causing greenhouse gases to form a blanket around the Earth, inhibiting the sun?s heat from leaving the outer atmosphere. This increase of greenhouse gases is causing an additional warming of the Earth?s surface and atmosphere. A direct consequence of this is sea-level rise expansion, which is primarily due to the thermal expansion of oceans (water expands when heated), inducing the melting of ice sheets as global surface temperature increases. Forecasts for climate change by the 2,000 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) project a rise in the global average surface temperature by 1.4 to 5.8°C from 1990 to 2100. This will result in a global mean sea level rise by an average of 5 mm per year over the next 100 years. Consequently, human-induced climate change will have ?deleterious effects? on ecosystems, socio-economic systems and human welfare.At the moment, especially high risks associated with the rise of the oceans are having a particular impact on the two archipelagic states of Western Polynesia: Tuvalu and Kiribati. According to UN forecasts, they may be completely inundated by the rising waters of the Pacific by 2050.According to the vast majority of scientific investigations, warming waters and the melting of polar and high-elevation ice worldwide will steadily raise sea levels. This will likely drive people off islands first by spoiling the fresh groundwater, which will kill most land plants and leave no potable water for humans and their livestock. Low-lying island states like Kiribati, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives are the most prominent nations threatened in this way.“The biggest challenge is to preserve their nationality without a territory,” said Bogumil Terminski from Geneva. The best solution is continue to recognize deterritorialized states as a normal states in public international law. The case of Kiribati and other small island states is a particularly clear call to action for more secure countries to respond to the situations facing these ‘most vulnerable nations’, as climate change increasingly impacts upon their lives.