As I observed when commenting upon the Kentucky flooding, all extreme weather event reporting nowadays seems to follow a familiar narrative. It’s designed to evoke an emotional reaction before asserting a definite link to climate change — and the reporting upon the Pakistan flooding is no exception since it follows the pattern perfectly. First, appal your readers with the horror of the event:

“The death toll from the monsoon rains has reached 1,033 – with 119 killed in the last 24 hours, the National Disaster Management Authority says.”

Then plant the idea that nothing like this has been seen before:

“Floods are not uncommon in Pakistan but the people here tell us these rains were different. They were more than anything that’s ever been seen here.”

Then deliver the scientific punchline:

“Officials in the country blame climate change for the devastation.”

It works every time, and anyone who could deny the need to put another nought on the end of that Net Zero bill risks being dismissed as a callous, unthinking brute. Surely, we should do anything to stop this sort of thing happening again.

However, as I hope I demonstrated when analysing the Kentucky floods, things are often not as straightforward as made out by those holding the Net Zero collection box. Before you commit yourself to your personal contribution, you might want to take into account a little context. So let us start with a bit of history.

Whenever devastation is on the scale witnessed in Pakistan over recent weeks, there will always be plenty of people on scene to attest to its novelty. However, the availability heuristic is a powerful cognitive bias and the data will often tell a different story. According to the World Bank, this is what the record of average rainfall (in millimetres) looks like for Pakistan over the last 80 years or so:

There is a slight upward trend there, but nothing to write home about. Individuals may have recently experienced something unique as far as they are concerned, but we are not talking about an event that forms part of a pattern of significantly deteriorating weather. There is simply no sign of climate chaos in the data. Pakistan is a country that has always experienced high variations in precipitation and nothing much is changing.

Even if one takes in a longer perspective, the picture does not change significantly. This is what the World Bank’s Climate Risk Country Profile for Pakistan says on the subject of precipitation:

“Pakistan has a complex historical precipitation profile. The early 20th century was characterised by a prolonged decline in annual rainfall, but since 1960, a slight increasing trend has prevailed (Figure 4). This overall trend hides considerable sub-national variation. Mean rainfall in the arid plains of Pakistan and the coastal belt has decreased by 10%–15% since 1960, contributing to the ongoing degradation of the country’s wetlands and mangrove ecosystems. Most other regions have experienced a slight increase, seen both in the monsoon and dry seasons.”

If you were to look at Figure 4 you would see for yourself that the average rainfall in the early 20th century (i.e. pre-independence) is significantly lower than that of the latter half. So there is that. But the fact remains that the last 80 years or so have seen no dramatic change. And yet we are told that flooding is getting worse. If this is not due to increased rainfall, then what else could be the cause?

I don’t know about you, but when I was a lad, worsening floods in Pakistan were a perennial news item, and yet no one back then mentioned climate change. Instead, the cause was understood to be deforestation within the country’s northern watershed. Interestingly, this hasn’t been mentioned in any of the many reports I have read on the recent floods; in every case the ‘slight increase’ in rainfall caused by supposed ‘climate breakdown’ has been blamed. So could it be that Pakistan has solved its deforestation problem at long last? Well, not according to the World Bank:

“Every year, Pakistan loses almost 27,000 hectares of natural forest area. Based on this, Pakistan is in a state of ‘Green Emergency’.”

The Asia Times provides a further insight into the problem:

“At the time of independence, Pakistan’s total forest cover was 33%. By 2015 it had dropped to 5%. Moreover, in 2010, tree cover in Pakistan was 648,000 hectares, or just 0.74% of total land area…Among the daunting factors that cause deforestation, dependency on firewood, urbanization, and commodity-driven demands are the leading factors. A big chunk of the population (68%) depends on firewood. From 2001 to 2019, urbanization and commodity-driven deforestation accounted for 15% of tree-cover loss.”

Even governmental intervention is having little impact, since Pakistan’s so-called timber mafia is doing its best to service the country’s on-going dependence upon wood. The logging continues to this day.

Strangely, however, the World Bank seemed to overlook the obvious impact that removal of a country’s watershed would have on its flood risk, preferring instead to restrict its commentary to the economic impact on locals. Even the Asia Times article seems more concerned with how the loss of forest will affect global C02 levels, with only an aside mention of landslides. Thankfully, an article on the Deutsche Welle (DW) website sets the record straight and points out the obvious direct impact that deforestation must be having upon flood risk:

“Pakistan floods aggravated by deforestation and other ecological mistakes.”

As to be expected, the article tries to play down the influence:

“The sheer scale of the current floods in Pakistan makes it difficult to talk about human responsibility, admits Saleem Ullah who works with the United Nations Development Program UNDP. ‘The intensity of the disaster was so much that the human role would be not more than something like twenty, thirty percent’.”

I confess that I don’t fully understand what that statement is trying to say, and I’m quite sure that it isn’t the ‘sheer scale’ of the floods the makes it difficult for Saleem to focus upon the ‘human role’ rather than blaming climate change; I’m guessing it has more to do with his desire to stay in the employ of the UNDP. Besides which, as far as I can see, it isn’t the scale of the disaster and how much of it is down to factors such as deforestation that matters here. The real issue is how much of the recent trend for worsening floods can be put down to such factors and, given that there has only been a ‘slight increase’ in precipitation over the last 80 years, I am inclined to suggest that the ‘human role’ is all that really remains to explain it. Remove that role and the flooding would only be about 70-80% of what it was. Remove the precipitation increase due to climate change and the flooding would only be…well I don’t know. What percentage constitutes a ‘slight decrease’?

As always, context is all important when analysing the significance of a flooding event. Certainly, the extreme precipitation that led to the event is of huge importance, but so is the historical climate record and the reputation the area has for such events. Furthermore, exacerbating factors such as deforestation can be of such a scale that any report that fails to mention them would be delinquent to say the least, particularly if trends are to be discussed. The reporting of the Kentucky floods was a perfect opportunity to sell the climate change narrative and so it seems it was necessary to leave out a lot of important context. And I might add that the same has proven true for the Pakistani floods.


  1. As the covid policy scam falls apart, it is interesting to note the climate policy scam still lurches on.


  2. John, I was mulling over the possibility of writing about this but have been busy this weekend so I am grateful that you have done so. You have made the points I would have made, but have done so more eloquently, so that worked out well (albeit not for the long-suffering citizens of that poor benighted country).

    Liked by 1 person


    a more balanced summery re – Monsoon Season of Pakistan.
    still ends with –
    “However, climate change is changing weather patterns around the globe and such changes can also be seen in our monsoon season. Even a small change will have a drastic impact on our country, thus it is extremely important for governments to keep this fact in mind while making policies and management plans for our country.”

    ps –

    wonder how they know that ?
    “The new research, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, analysed weather data stretching back to 1850 and computer models replicating the climate back to AD850. It found that, before 1850 and the start of significant human greenhouse gas emissions, extremely large Azores highs occurred once every 10 years on average.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rarely mentioned is that most of the people affected in Pakistan live on the floodplain of the Indus River and floodplains, by definition, periodically flood. People, especially in developing countries, settle on floodplains where the soil is fertile. Populations on floodplains in developing countries tend to increase and flood protection is not practical. Neither is regulation prohibiting settlement. Similar large scale flooding problems occur in Bangladesh and will continue to periodically occur regardless of any presumption of climate change effects.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mark,

    Thanks for that. Anybody with a curiosity for data could have made the same points. The relevant datasets are not hard to find and their implications are straightforward enough. However, in Kentucky the media and politicians decided to blame the floods on global warming, despite them being in a region that had not experienced any. And in Pakistan the floods were blamed upon a systematic increase in precipitation that is so slight that it couldn’t possibly be an explanation. They see things that are not there and they miss what is. It’s all about empirical scepticism. Do you go with evidence or just follow the narrative?


  6. Anteros,

    Thank you for that. Roger makes a very valid point regarding the IPCC’s position on attributing floods to climate change. It is a particularly difficult attribution to make in Pakistan’s case given its rainfall history. But if I may borrow a rhetorical ploy from Prof Otto Friedericke’s toolbox: The Pakistan floods would have been impossible without the removal of the country’s watershed.


  7. Dfhunter,

    “Even a small change will have a drastic impact on our country”

    What? Like removing your watershed?

    The guy is angling for international finance and will spout any bullshit to get it.


  8. Potentilla,

    Yes, from what I see, most of the population lives in a floodplain. I don’t wish to sound callous, but a floodplain’s gonna flood.


  9. Let’s face it the bulk of the world’s populations live on floodplains, ever since humans developed agriculture. That being so, the majority of humankind’s big cities are sited there. So devastating floods will occur occasionally on every floodplain but those in developed countries have in place measures to mitigate against most potential flood events, whereas poorer countries do not.

    I remember as a boy parts of East London suffering floods although our house was built on part of one of the Pleistocene river terraces, well above the present-day floodplain. Flooding occurred despite river embankments, and these kept the floodwaters on the floodplain, not allowing the water to drain back into the river.


  10. Thanks John – I also felt a duty to respond on this story, but had no facts at hand nor time with which to do so. Out in the car yesterday I was listening to PM, and the first quarter of the programme was dedicated to the floods. Listening back this morning, here are some of the main points, loosely transcribed:

    Pakistan’s government says a third of the country is now underwater… millions of homes have been left damaged or destroyed… The climate change minister has said flood waters cannot be pumped away because there is no dry land to hold the water…

    Pakistan’s climate minister has called it the “Monster Monsoon.” She estimated that flooding could soon extend to a third of her country as a result of heavy rains and melting glaciers… a thousand killed and hundreds of thousands displaced… houses and a hotel washed away… foreign minister says the flooding is a catastrophe on a scale never seen before…

    FM: 33 million households affected, displaced, which is a catastrophe on a scale which I have never seen before and we’ve experienced floods and monsoons of historic proportions before but this has really engulfed us all.

    VOXPOP: We are poor people. If the water recedes from our homes, we will go back… children without food waiting on the river bank… house washed away

    VOXPOP: Water mixed with sewage… our homes collapsed… we are homeless now

    Pakistan surrounded by huge glaciers…

    Representative of The Third Pole, dedicated to monitoring the melting of the glaciers: lives in Karachi where the usual monsoon is ten days, but they have had 40 or 50 days this time…

    “…so the climate, as in the rain, has increased massively but so has the drought – the heatwave due to climate change started as early as March which is really unusual. The climate change is a double-edged sword. There’s too much water or there’s water shortage…”

    What has this done to the national conversation about climate change in Pakistan?

    Climate change has a role but are we unprepared for these floods? Is it a lack of governance? … Our infrastructure is not good enough to save our people. If we see the difference in outcomes of climate disasters – Europe going through its worst drought in 500 years yet we don’t see casualties or things like we see over here.

    What should the Pakistani government be doing now to future proof these areas from these threats?

    Identify the places that were most hit by floods and by the way they are the same areas that get affected every time almost and not allow people to have settlements over there for starters… type of house construction… (presently made of mud bricks). Crops have been destroyed, our country already has huge economic issues… need for better roads and infrastructure… climate change is happening and floods will come … therefore need better roads for relief efforts

    International Rescue representative: this is the worst ever flood that Pakistan has experienced… IRC has reached 24,000 people since July… situation will get worse in Sindh as water flows downstream

    What are you going to be asking the world for?

    116,000,000 USD


  11. Alan,

    Indeed. It’s not a matter of telling the people of Pakistan to move out of the floodplain. They are there for a reason. Also, they didn’t just decide to cut down their watershed for the LOLs. People will do things to survive that are not conducive to the long-term good of the environment. That’s pretty much where we are at.


    I think they just threw in the melting glaciers there to be sure of pinning everything on climate change.

    >“…so the climate, as in the rain, has increased massively but so has the drought – the heatwave due to climate change started as early as March which is really unusual. The climate change is a double-edged sword. There’s too much water or there’s water shortage…”

    As the World Bank report said, Pakistan’s precipitation history is complex. For that reason, one has to be very careful when drawing conclusions from averages. Water shortage in one area can coincide with floods in another. That said, the report is quite clear on this matter with regard to the non-arid regions:

    “Most other regions have experienced a slight increase, seen both in the monsoon and dry seasons.”

    Note, that nothing has “increased massively” and the statement is covering the relevant regions.


  12. You can always rely on Guterres to turn the amp up to 11:

    “Pakistan floods are ‘a monsoon on steroids’, warns UN chief”

    “Let’s stop sleepwalking towards the destruction of our planet by climate change. Today, it’s Pakistan. Tomorrow, it could be your country.”

    Alternatively, let’s stop talking twaddle on steroids. Dreadful though the flooding is, it cannot be put down to climate change that readily. As I said earlier, the scale of the Pakistan floods would have been impossible without the removal of the country’s watershed. The same cannot be said with respect to global warming. That’s not just my position, it is the IPCC’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Richard Burgon MP pandering to his Pakistani voters and the GreenBlob


  14. Here is the BBC’s Matt McGrath’s latest attempt to attribute the Pakistan floods:

    “Is climate change to blame?”

    “This year the country has been hit by the largest amount of rainfall in three decades – and it’s an irrefutable scientific fact of an overheating world that a warmer atmosphere holds more water, making downpours far more intense.”

    Yes, but it is also an irrefutable ‘scientific fact’ that the trend for warmer atmosphere is not reflected in any significant increase in the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation events in Pakistan. This can be seen in the World Bank data featured in my article. Why isn’t McGrath acknowledging this? Instead, there appears to be an attempt to cite glacial melt as the extra ingredient that makes the difference:

    “Pakistan also has the largest number of glaciers outside of the polar regions and higher temperatures have led to more water tumbling down from melting ice in the Himalayas.”

    Then, finally, deforestation gets a mention:

    “But there are other factors at play here that have contributed to the scale of devastation. These include long-term deforestation and government failures to make adaptive changes since the last major flooding event in 2010.”

    No mention of the huge scale of that deforestation and how it dwarfs any changes there may have been in Pakistan’s precipitation history.

    The rest is just copious detail reminding us all how awful it is.

    This is not a serious analysis. Verdict: 3/10

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jit,

    So I guess you’re suggesting that I shouldn’t bother complaining 😏


  16. I know Roger Pielke jr has already been mentioned on this thread, but he’s active on Twitter too:

    Liked by 1 person

  17. And in 2015, this was climate change at work in the Indian sub-continent and south Asia:

    “Warming Indian Ocean weakens monsoon”

    At a time when drought is looming over India, a new study brings in more grim news on the monsoon rains crucial for the country’s economy. The study led by Roxy Mathew Koll at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune says rapid warming in the Indian Ocean is playing an important role in weakening the monsoon circulation and rainfall.

    Using long-term observations and climate model experiments, the authors provide “compelling evidence that the enhanced Indian Ocean warming potentially weakens the land-sea thermal contrast, dampens the summer monsoon circulation, and thereby reduces the rainfall over parts of South Asia,” Koll told Nature India .

    Land-sea temperature difference in summer and sea surface temperatures are two major drivers of the Indian monsoon. The former drives the monsoon circulation towards the subcontinent while rising ocean surface temperature leads to greater moisture availability in the atmosphere due to increase in evaporation and moisture holding capacity of air. “Ideally, the increased land-sea temperature contrast and moisture availability should increase the monsoon rainfall,” Koll said.

    “However, our study has shown that is not the case for the Indian monsoon.” For their analysis, the IITM researchers used observed monsoon rainfall data from 1901-2012 from the Indian Meteorological Department and other sources.

    “Our analysis found that the summer monsoon rainfall is decreasing over central South Asia – from south of Pakistan through central India to Bangladesh,” the researchers report. “The decrease is highly significant over central India where agriculture is still mostly rain-fed, with a reduction of up to 10-20% in the mean rainfall.”

    According to the report, this reduction in rainfall is primarily contributed by a strong warming in the Indian Ocean. “The surface warming in the Indian Ocean, especially in the western regions, have reached values of up to 1.2°C during the past century, much larger than the warming trends in the other tropical oceans,” says Koll.

    Increased warming in the ocean enhances the large-scale upward motion of warm moist air over the equatorial ocean, he says. This is compensated by subsidence of dry air over the subcontinent, inhibiting convection and rainfall over the Indian landmass. “This means that a warming Indian Ocean has resulted in surplus rains over the ocean at the cost of the monsoon rains over land, simultaneously drying the Indian subcontinent.”

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Mark,

    I tried reading that 2015 study but had to give up half way because I could no longer see through the tears of laughter.


  19. Look at the state of this tweet
    A London journo seeing 2+2 and making 5

    The BBC broadcast a segment saying “And it’s not only people that have been hit by the floods
    the government estimates that 80% of livestock has been killed …
    (Shows a man with most of his animals still living, he sold 4)

    80% where ?
    For the 80% claim No location context was given
    Except intro & map said her segment was about Sukkur, Sindh

    I don’t understand how the journo Harry could tweet it was the whole of Pakistan, and no one in his Twitter bubble tell him he’s talking crap.

    My context/video


  20. Dfhunter,

    As indeed one would expect. Extreme weather is the IPCC’s gift to those demanding the declaration of an emergency. The issue has never been whether or not one would expect more extreme weather as the climate changes. The issue is how extreme weather is being reported upon as if it is always unprecedented and always clearly fully attributable to climate change. This problem becomes even more of an issue when one starts to look at phenomena that are not entirely weather-related such as wildfires and floods. Analysing the causation of outcomes is a tricky business and the likes of Matt McGrath don’t come close to getting it right. In his case, having a particular political outlook doesn’t help with objectivity, and the same seems to be the case with a great many others. But I forget – it is only we ‘deniers’ who are bad actors behaving disingenuously. Everyone else is just following the science.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. John – “unprecedented” is the new buzzword for any extreme weather event in the rolling news, with little real context given.
    sadly most viewers/listeners will take it as a given.

    partial quote – “Dr Mark McCarthy of the National Climate Information Centre said: “Verification of these record-breaking temperatures confirms what we’ve been saying in the last week, that the UK exceeded 40°C for the first time as part of a widespread and intense heatwave.

    “In a climate unaffected by human-induced climate change, it would be virtually impossible for temperatures in the UK to reach 40°C but climate change is already making UK heatwaves more frequent, intense and long-lasting.”


  22. What I have just said regarding the ignoring of historical data is not strictly true, since there is this statement in the report:

    “Pakistan received nearly 190% more rain than its 30-year average from June to August – reaching a total of 390.7mm.”

    Unfortunately, this is an extremely misleading statistic. Remember that I said this on 30 August 11.53am:

    “As the World Bank report said, Pakistan’s precipitation history is complex. For that reason, one has to be very careful when drawing conclusions from averages.”

    Precipitation in Pakistan is hugely variable, which means that extremes are always far removed from the average. What they should be pointing out is how this departure from the average compares with historical departures from the average. That’s the history that is missing from the report.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. “Are Pakistan’s Floods Really the “Worst in History” Because of Climate Change?”

    Definitely worth a read, IMO.

    As is this:

    “Stop blaming climate change for Pakistan’s floods
    Poverty and underdevelopment are the real causes of this devastation.”

    The Spiked article is, I think, more a case not of rebutting the claims about extreme weather, more it’s the old sceptic mantra of suggesting that mitigation is pointless, and that spending money on adaptation makes far more sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. It’s reassuring to see that the BBC’s Georgina Rannard, with her PhD in Global History, finds the science of flooding so easy to follow:

    “The science linking climate change and more intense monsoons is quite simple. Global warming is making air and sea temperatures rise, leading to more evaporation. Warmer air can hold more moisture, making monsoon rainfall more intense.”

    Here is what a former Lead Author for the IPCC, Prof Robert Muir-Wood, says on the subject of flooding in his book, ‘The Cure for Catastrophe’:

    “Attribution studies do not answer the question as to whether a whole class of catastrophe [flooding] is overall becoming more likely or more damaging. Winter 1947 in England was the coldest of the last century, with arctic conditions and a thick snowpack. In early March, a succession of Atlantic storms caused a rapid thaw, leading to the most disastrous national flooding for 200 years. It seems likely that such a ‘continental’ deep-freeze winter and associated thaw floods are now less likely in a warmer world. Has the disappearance of one class of severe flood been offset by an increase in the likelihood of other classes, such as prolonged episodes of autumn rain or intense summer cloudbursts? In a 2014 global review of all the evidence for worldwide changes in river flood frequency, leading IPCC authors acknowledged that, so far, there is no consistent pattern of change.”

    In other words, Georgina, Monsoons may be simple to understand, but the rest isn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. John, indeed, I’m sure it’s more complex than Georgina understands. And don’t forget that 2015 study I quoted above:

    Increased warming in the ocean enhances the large-scale upward motion of warm moist air over the equatorial ocean, he says. This is compensated by subsidence of dry air over the subcontinent, inhibiting convection and rainfall over the Indian landmass. “This means that a warming Indian Ocean has resulted in surplus rains over the ocean at the cost of the monsoon rains over land, simultaneously drying the Indian subcontinent.


  26. Good point, Mark. Even monsoons are not as simple to understand as Georgina seems to think. I was being too kind.


  27. And here’s the Guardian repeating the absurd lie that a third of Pakistan is under water:

    “Pakistan’s biggest lake may burst banks after draining attempts fail
    Lake Manchar on verge of causing more flooding, says local official, as third of country already underwater”

    The claim is repeated in the body of the article, with a link to another Guardian article from 1st September by way of justification:

    “Urgent aid appeal launched as satellite images show a third of Pakistan underwater”

    Those pictures appear to confirm the Pakistani government’s assessment that more than a third of the country – an area roughly the size of the UK – has been submerged by monsoon rainfall, estimated to have been 10 times more severe than usual.

    It seems fairly obvious from the satellite photos reproduced in the 1st September article that nothing like 1/3 of the country is under water. Nobody is denying the scale of the tragedy. It would just be nice if the reporting was balance and accurate.


  28. Mark,

    Thank you for the link to the 2011 BBC article; I found it quite intriguing and I can’t remember the last time I could say that regarding a BBC report on climate change. In particular, I thought the following was very interesting:

    “What all the climate models predict is that the distribution of monsoon rains will become more uneven in the future,” he told BBC News. “Total rainfall stays the same, but it comes in shorter more intense bursts.”

    Firstly, that is obvious hype because monsoons are a regional phenomenon and only the regional models can make predictions at the regional level. Such models are notoriously unreliable, so I doubt they all make such a prediction. Indeed, you have yourself drawn attention to at least one such model that predicts quite the opposite. Even so, if it is the case that climate change makes monsoons shorter but more intense, then that would enable one to reconcile the idea of increasingly more apocalyptic monsoons with the fact that extremes in annual average rainfall are not increasing by very much. It is also worth pointing out that this version of the science of monsoons is a lot more complicated than the ‘simple’ science that the journalists are peddling right now.

    Moving on to the percent coverage of the floods, I tend to agree that there has been a lot of numberwang thrown around recently. In particular, this caught my eye in the quote you gave:

    “…monsoon rainfall, estimated to have been 10 times more severe than usual.”

    I am struggling to reconcile that statistic with the quote I supplied earlier (2nd Sep):

    “Pakistan received nearly 190% more rain than its 30-year average from June to August – reaching a total of 390.7mm.”

    As I say, a lot of numberwang here, methinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Apart from melting glaciers, a theme that seems to have belatedly entered the Pakistan floods narrative is that of global injustice. In particular, the following statement now seems to be cropping up in the BBC’s coverage:

    “The disaster has also highlighted the stark disparity between countries that are the largest contributors towards climate change and countries that bear the brunt of its impact. Pakistan produces less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but its geography makes it extremely vulnerable to climate change.”

    Yes, but Pakistan is 100% responsible for the destruction of its own watershed and it is 100% responsible for its poor track record in improving flood defences, particularly following the 2010 floods. It doesn’t surprise me that the powers that be are so keen to deflect attention elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. To illustrate the above, here’s what one person on the ground thinks of the situation:

    “Our irrigation departments are not in touch with locals, our environmental protection agencies are not in touch with locals, and the Balochistan disaster management authority is currently the most useless institution in the country,” she said. “And while climate change is important in water policy and government discourse, I think the federal and provincial governments place a lot of blame on climate change and use it as a scapegoat for their own incompetence.”

    Liked by 2 people

  31. “Climate Alarmists Report One Third of Pakistan Under Water – In Fact, it’s Eight Per Cent”

    There is something rather sad – desperate even – about the attempts by green zealots and journalists to blame the tragic monsoon floods in Pakistan on human-caused climate change. There is no scientific proof to back up this assertion, but to the alarmists it has a ‘ring of truth’ and can be conveniently fitted into the pre-ordained climate change and Net Zero political narrative.

    Likewise, it sounds as if it might be true that one third of the country is under water. This claim first appears to have been made by a local government minister, and was subsequently repeated around the world media. In the U.S., the TV network NBC reported the statement as fact, noting that “experts” and local officials have drawn a direct line to human-made climate change – “countries with the lowest contributions to the global crisis are becoming increasingly vulnerable to its effects”, it helpfully added. Never one not to exploit an extreme weather event, the BBC also reported that the local climate minister had said that “one third of Pakistan had been completely submerged” by historic flooding. The summer rain was said to be the heaviest recorded in a decade “and is blamed by the Government on climate change”.

    The BBC has been caught out with numerous climate change errors of late, and by adding the caveat “heaviest in a decade” seems to be getting a little more careful in how it promotes the catastrophe narrative. As David Craig noted last Friday in the Daily Sceptic, there have been four massive Pakistan floods – 1950, 1992, 1993 and 2010 – which killed more people than perished this year. The death toll this year is estimated at just over 1,000, and this compares with over 3,000 in 1993.

    But one third of the land “completely submerged”? Citizen journalist Paul Homewood makes the obvious point – obvious, it might be noted, to those with a basic knowledge of geography – that on the face of it the claim is an “absurd one”. Much of Pakistan is mountainous or desert, and the satellite photo below shows the area flooded is nothing like a third.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I have pointed out in this article that there is no sign of increasing climate chaos when one looks at Pakistan’s annual precipitation history. However, if the real problem is one of increasing variability within the year and over regions, such a history will not be telling the full story. This is what the IPCC said in AR6 on the matter:

    “There has been a noticeable declining trend in rainfall with monsoon deficits occurring with higher frequency in different regions in South Asia. Concurrently the frequency of heavy precipitation events has increased over India while the frequency of moderate rain events has decreased since 1950 (high confidence).”

    In fact, for India the story is one of declining monsoon rainfall (6% over the last 60 years) coupled with increasing monsoon unpredictability. Naturally, this too is blamed on global warming but, as I have said, making a connection between thermodynamic trends on a global scale and atmospheric dynamic trends on the regional scale is highly problematic. Consequently, I am finding claims that climate models predicted monsoon unpredictability a little unconvincing. You can find articles, such as that linked to below, that make a great deal out of recent (10 year) trends, but there is little to my mind that suggests this is a result of AGW as opposed to natural variability. Furthermore, it remains the case that the issues of deforestation and governmental neglect are probably having at least the same impact as recent adverse weather conditions have had, whatever their cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Having taken an even closer look at the Pakistan floods, I think it is only fair that I now draw attention to the things that my article got wrong.

    Firstly, when I said ‘nothing much is changing’ I should have made it clear that I was only referring to the annual average rainfall and its variability. I was right to say that this calls into question the simplistic AGW links offered by the mainstream media. However, I now concede that variability within the year and over regions does seem to be increasing, and this is important.

    Secondly, when I said “I am inclined to suggest that the ‘human role’ is all that really remains to explain” the worsening flooding, I was wrong, since the variability I mention above will also be a causative factor. Taking into account this additional variability, the comparison between the ‘human role’ and climatic causation becomes more difficult to determine. So, basically, things are not as straightforward as I was suggesting.

    However, in my opinion what doesn’t change is the strength of the case for global warming being the cause of the floods. Firstly, the variability that does actually seem to be one of the causations can only be weakly connected to global thermodynamic trends (remember that overall monsoon rainfall is on the decline). Secondly, flooding is not an entirely climatic event and, as far as Pakistan is concerned, the ‘human role’ is huge.

    I want people to appreciate that I am genuinely trying to understand what is going on here, which means that I have to think about it more carefully than the average BBC reporter. I also like to think that I am more inclined to admit errors than does the BBC.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. I’ve been scouting around to find some information on the current state of play concerning research into intra-seasonal monsoon variability and possible links to climate change. It is easy to find research papers that claim that global warming will increase both the annual rainfall and inter-annual variability (albeit with no explanation as to why no such significant trends have been observed to date). However, this is the best I’ve found on intra-seasonal variability:

    “However, it will not be until we have a better capability at simulating the day-to-day and intraseasonal monsoon variability in our climate models that we will have more confidence in our projections of this important variability.”

    That says it all really. The models have been very good at predicting something that hasn’t happened (yet) and useless at predicting what has.

    Nevertheless, I’ll keep looking.


  35. Given that intra-seasonal variability (ISV) has turned out to be the key issue, this abstract looks interesting:

    “Accurate prediction of global land monsoon rainfall on a sub-seasonal (2–8 weeks) time scale has become a worldwide demand. Current forecasts of weekly-mean rainfall in most monsoon regions, however, have limited skills beyond two weeks, calling for a more profound understanding of monsoon intraseasonal variability (ISV). We show that the high-frequency (HF; 8–20 days) ISV, crucial for the Week 2 and Week 3 predictions, accounts for about 53–70% of the total (8–70 days) ISV, generally dominating the sub-seasonal predictability of various land monsoons, while the low-frequency (LF; 20–70 days)’s contribution is comparable to HF only over Australia (AU; 47%), South Asia (SA; 43%), and South America (SAM; 40%). The leading modes of HFISVs in Northern Hemisphere (NH) monsoons primarily originate from different convectively coupled equatorial waves, while from mid-latitude wave trains for Southern Hemisphere (SH) monsoons and East Asian (EA) monsoon. The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) directly regulates LFISVs in Asian-Australian monsoon and affects American and African monsoons by exciting Kelvin waves and mid-latitude teleconnections. During the past four decades, the HF (LF) ISVs have considerably intensified over Asian (Asian-Australian) monsoon but weakened over American (SAM) monsoon. Sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S) prediction models exhibit higher sub-seasonal prediction skills over AU, SA, and SAM monsoons that have larger LFISV contributions than other monsoons. These results suggest an urgent need to improve the simulation of convectively coupled equatorial waves and two-way interactions between regional monsoon ISVs and mid-latitude processes and between MJO and regional monsoons, especially under the global warming scenarios.”

    All that talk of Madden-Julian Oscillations, convectively coupled equatorial waves, Kelvin waves and mid-latitude teleconnections, brings home the essentially chaotic nature of the problem. It is certainly a far cry from the “quite simple” climate science that the BBC’s Georgina Rannard was pushing. But you don’t actually have to understand everything written in the above abstract. The important take away is that the science of regional atmospheric dynamics under global thermodynamic forcing is very much in its infancy.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Thanks John… I’m afraid I don’t understand it with a skim, and I’m not sure I would with a detailed read with pencil and paper either.

    Figure 7 stood out because it looked as if the trend in mean and variation was always the same sign. That makes me suspicious that the variation has been measured wrongly, but these guys are smarter than me so I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they’re doing.


  37. Jit,

    The vast majority of the paper covers details of the atmospheric dynamics that, fortunately for us, we don’t need to fully understand. The most pertinent bit, of course, was what it had to say regarding trends (which, as you have already noted, are illustrated in figure 7). The report states:

    “The changes in ISV intensity follow those of seasonal-mean precipitation (Fig. 7). The mean precipitation exhibits a significant increasing trend over Southeast China, Central India, northern India-Bangladesh, and Australia. Meanwhile, a significant decreasing trend appears over Venezuela and Brazil, resulting in a significant reduction in ISV intensity. These results suggest that the intensity change of individual monsoon ISVs is determined by local mean-state change. The increased mean precipitation in Asian monsoons during the last four decades is mainly due to the negative phase of the Inter-decadal Pacific Oscillation and the warm phase of the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, augmented by increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emission.”

    The reference to ‘augmented by increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emission’ is the bit I was looking for. However, there is a problem. They claim to have discerned a positive correlation between ISV and local mean-state change, but that is not the narrative one encounters elsewhere. Remember, for example, what the IPCC said in AR6:

    “There has been a noticeable declining trend in rainfall with monsoon deficits occurring with higher frequency in different regions in South Asia. Concurrently the frequency of heavy precipitation events has increased over India while the frequency of moderate rain events has decreased since 1950 (high confidence).”

    I’m getting that numberwang feeling again.


  38. Also, there was this:

    “Extremely heavy rainfall events over the last two monsoon periods may have led to a perception that India’s summer monsoon rainfall has increased, but it has in fact decreased by 6% over the past 60 years, say Indian government and international climate change assessments. The summer monsoon in 2021, though ‘normal’, was marked by a number of such localised extreme rainfall events and displayed variability in patterns of rainfall dispersal, both of which will only increase in future, these assessments warn.”


  39. Yet another take on the same subject:

    “Increased sporadic extremes decrease the intraseasonal variability in the Indian summer monsoon rainfall”

    “The recent decades have witnessed a significant increase in the number of these extreme rainfall events, especially in the quiescent phases. This increase is accompanied by a decreasing trend in the mean monsoon rainfall and a weakening variance of its low-frequency ISO (LF-ISO) cycle.”

    This fits what most people have been saying. But then we get the punchline:

    “However, any physical link between this apparent paradox of increased extreme rainfall events and weakened slower-time-scale components is not yet reported.”


  40. bender
    Posted Dec 12, 2007 at 10:09 PM | Permalink
    You suggest these patterns are natural, and I don’t disagree. But I can’t agree either. Here’s the problem. The warmer modelers are, post-hoc, developing ever-more inclusive and complex ideas of the nature of the AGW “fingerprint”. It gets so their hypothesis is virtually untestable. When every dip, bump, shift, and anomaly is assumed to carry the sign of the devil, then you’re never going to find evidence to the contrary. As the models are always going to be in a state of flux, I don’t see any end to this witch hunt. There is not a single discordant observation that can not or will not be made to fit “the model” by a re-tuning or re-parameterization.

    a long coment thread tho !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Dfhunter,

    Yes, that is the impression one gets when surveying the literature. The subject is atmospheric dynamics and how it is affected by global temperature changes. A change in variability in a particular region has been noted and the game is to try to get a model to explain why the natural variability should have changed in the way it has. As far as monsoon variability is concerned, the research is in its infancy and I see people struggling in the way I expected. But there is a model for every occasion.🙂


  42. I’m definitely getting the impression this year that monsoons are bad, bringing death, destruction and the ruination of crops. Yet when I was a youngster I was taught that it was a life saver, it broke the oppressive heat of an Indian summer and brought life-giving rains. When it was late, people despaired and prayed for its arrival. This is not forgetting the large number of deaths attributed to this year’s monsoon rains and floods, but as has already been discussed in part they can be attributed to other, man-made causes.

    This year climate change has seemingly changed what formerly was considered a benefit and life-saver into something to be feared.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Alan,

    Ah yes, well you see they have that one covered because climate change is making the monsoons less reliable: they arrive too early, they arrive too late, they are not wet enough, they are too wet, etc.

    This one is too important not to put down to climate change. It’s the drought that still drowns.


  44. But the arrival of monsoons was commonly fickle, sometimes early but other years late. This was the main variation of concern, but the volume of rainfall and its duration were also variable. So what is new?


  45. >”So what is new?”

    Nothing, I guess. But they are saying the unpredictability is getting more unpredictable and the extremes are becoming more intense, i.e. the same rainfall in shorter periods. I haven’t actually looked at the data but, assuming that it is true, it would explain some of the headlines, given that annual rainfall isn’t actually increasing by much. That said, let us not forget the ‘human role’, such as deforestation.

    My position is this: The variability to which they refer is a result of coupled natural cycles driving the atmospheric dynamics. The onus is on the climate scientists to demonstrate that any change to such variability is only explicable by taking global warming into account. From what I can see, the are a long way from that. You can’t get away with just invoking the Clausius-Clapeyron effect.


  46. This article provides some good background into Pakistan’s deforestation problem, particularly the role played by the Taliban. The relevance to the recent floods is quite clear:

    “Deforestation played a tremendous role in aggravating the floods,” said Ghulam Akbar, director of the Pakistan Wetlands Program, an environment protection group funded by the United Nations and other international organizations. “Had there been good forests, as we used to have 25 years back, the impact of flooding would have been much less.”

    “It was like doomsday,” said Fazl Raheem, a spry 70-year-old who lost his home, a guesthouse, his belongings and his poultry farm in the floods. Standing alongside the Chail River, he points to remnants of his property: a few jagged pieces of rebar jutting from the water and a mound of red bricks on the shore. “There wouldn’t be this amount of destruction if the trees were still here,” he said.

    “The Indus would flood before, but the forests would slow down the water pressure,” Mohammed said. “But with the forests gone, the water flowed freely and destroyed our houses, our fields, our roads, everything. “Everyone was angry when the trees were cut, but what can a poor man do?”

    Liked by 2 people

  47. John,

    I see that your friends Friederike Otto and Matt McGrath are at it again (front page news on the BBC website, of course, in this week of OTT coverage of the late Queen’s funeral when most news simply isn’t being reported, either adequately, or at all):

    “Climate change: Pakistan floods ‘likely’ made worse by warming”

    Global warming is likely to have played a role in the devastating floods that hit Pakistan, say scientists.

    Researchers from the World Weather Attribution group say climate change may have increased the intensity of rainfall.

    Nevertheless, there are more than a few qualifying phrases (and I give McGrath limited credit for including them):

    However there were many uncertainties in the results, so the team were unable to quantify the scale of the impact….

    But this first scientific analysis says the picture is complex….

    But extreme rainfall events are hard to assess. Pakistan is located on the edge of the monsoon region where the rainfall pattern is extremely variable from year to year.

    Further complications include the impact of large-scale weather events such as La Niña, which also played a role in the last major floods in Pakistan in 2010….

    The researchers then used climate models to determine how likely these events would be in a world without warming.

    Some of the models indicated that the increases in rainfall intensity could all be down to human-caused climate change – however there were considerable uncertainties in the results….

    “Our evidence suggests that climate change played an important role in the event, although our analysis doesn’t allow us to quantify how big the role was,” said Friederike Otto from Imperial College London, one of the report’s authors….

    “So while it is hard to put a precise figure to the contribution of climate change, the fingerprints of global warming are evident.”…

    No mention of deforestation, of course.

    I thought this was a bit of a giveaway:

    Right from the start, politicians pointed to climate change as having made a significant contribution to the desperate scenes.

    A knee-jerk reaction, based on no evidence, you mean?


  48. Mark,

    Yes, there are all those caveats but there is also this:

    “What we saw in Pakistan is exactly what climate projections have been predicting for years. It’s also in line with historical records showing that heavy rainfall has dramatically increased in the region since humans started emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And our own analysis also shows clearly that further warming will make these heavy rainfall episodes even more intense. So while it is hard to put a precise figure to the contribution of climate change, the fingerprints of global warming are evident.”

    Does the truth mean anything to these people? As far as the interannual rainfall pattern is concerned, the record is as provided in my article above. There is no fingerprint to be discerned in that. The only fingerprint is that to be found in the ISV records, and Otto’s models are useless in that domain.

    All in all, their statement is rubbish and if it were not for us second string deniers there would be no one to point that out.


  49. John,

    Perhaps mentioning caveats is an attempt to look scientific, fair and balanced. Of course if the article includes falsehoods of the type you have spotted, then it is no such thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Of course one has huge sympathy with the poor folk in Pakistan who have just suffered terribly from the flooding. There is a strong argument for international aid (personally, I think the UK’s international aid budget should be reserved for events such as this where we can move quickly with prompt assistance, rather than having an army of international accountants and consultants hoovering up fees to assist the government in deciding where and how to spend its aid budget).

    However, it’s fairly clear that “climate change” is now an excuse and an opportunity to demand that developed countries send lots of money to developing countries, and it works as a smokescreen to suggest that it’s a matter of right (to right a wrong) rather an act of charity of compassion and human decency. This article doesn’t begin to recognise that Pakistan may well be in part the author of its own misfortune and seeks to put all the blame on the west, in effect. I suppose it’s not surprising, especially given the identity of the author, but a little scepticism is in order, I think.

    “Why should we in Pakistan pay for catastrophic floods we had no part in causing?
    Sherry Rehman
    Pakistan continues to pay in loss and damages for the carbon emissions of others. This must change”

    Apologies for a lengthy extract, but I set out below the notes I made at the time regarding Pakistan’s plans as set out in the NDC submitted in November 2016 under the Paris Climate Agreement. All claims by Sherry Rehman should perhaps be read in the light of the contents of the NDC:

    “Based on the latest draft GHG Inventory of Pakistan (2014-15), growth in emissions of different sectors has been fairly consistent. Over the last twenty one years (1994-2015), the overall increase in the emissions has been approximately 123 percent, with energy and agriculture sectors accounting for about 90 percent of total emissions. While the historical trend of increase in emissions has so far been fairly consistent, the envisaged economic growth and increasingly conducive macro-economic environment are likely to amplify future emissions.
    Future projections for the period 2015-30 show a steady increase in emissions due to the ambitious plans of the present government to spark economic activity through large-scale investments in energy, communication and industrial infrastructure. The forecasted economic growth is considered to be historically unprecedented and unmatched. Accordingly, future emissions of the country will increase manifold. Consistent with historical trends, both energy and agriculture sectors are predicted to remain predominant in GHG emissions, whereas significant increase is also expected in other sectors like industrial processes and waste.”
    And, as usual, it’s all about money:
    “Low abatement cost coupled with prospects for climate-resilient investment in energy, infrastructure, industrial processes etc. qualify Pakistan as one of the promising carbon investment markets in the world.
    In consideration of projected future emissions and potential for mitigation, Pakistan offers different options as part of its INDC for emission reduction, subject to the availability of Finance, Technology Development & Transfer and Capacity Building by the international community.”
    Pakistan is definitely not East Timor:
    “With current population estimated to be 195.5 million, Pakistan is the sixth-most-populous country of the world. Growing at a rate of 1.89 percent per annum, the population is expected to swell to 229 million by 2025 and approximately 275 million by year 2050.”
    What of its energy mix?
    “The energy mix of the country shows a predominant share of natural gas, which currently stands at about 44 percent of total commercial energy requirements; the remaining comes from hydropower and fossil fuels with a small portion from renewable sources. Given the prevailing energy crisis and the need to meet the so far depressed but growing demand, the country needs to exploit all its domestic sources of energy including coal, hydro, wind and solar. The use of nuclear and domestic coalbased energy in the power generation sector seems inevitable in the future.”
    Still, China it isn’t either:
    “Pakistan’s contribution to the global GHG emissions is miniscule. According to the Global Economy rankings, the share of Pakistan in total global GHG emissions is merely 0.8 percent and it is ranked as 135th in the list of global emitters on a per capita basis.”
    Interesting that 0.8% of the world’s GHG emissions are described as minuscule. If so, what’s the UK’s hang-up with this issue?
    Given its climate problems, coal will be ditched, yes? Er, no…
    “For Pakistan it would be a challenge to achieve its targeted economic growth rate without overcoming the prevailing energy crisis through an aggressive increase in energy supply in the coming years. The government energy policy (2013) states that all domestic sources of energy, including coal, hydro, natural gas, wind and solar will be fully harnessed in bridging the power sector supply shortfall.
    The government plans to achieve an optimal mix of coal, gas and hydro potentials. The planned addition to the total installed capacity and prescribed energy mix will recognizably have an impact on the projected emissions of the energy sector. ”
    “Improving the efficiency of planned coal-based power generation could lead to GHG mitigation. This measure is particularly important in view of plans for developing Pakistan’s coal resources and significantly increasing the fuel’s importance in domestic electricity generation.”
    “Though there is no plan at present for carbon sequestration in the country due to uncertainty surrounding implementation potential and associated high costs, yet it would become relevant given the availability of resources”
    In other words, that old mantra – “send us money, and we might try to do something.”
    How does 2030 look compared to 2015? Well, it’s difficult to tell, because it’s all so complicated:
    “Setting 2015 as the base year for quantification of emissions has allowed consideration of the latest economic and industry parameters as well as the government’s targeted growth rates and development goals and objectives. Implications on emissions of aggressive national plans for addressing the prevailing energy crisis and adequately meeting projected energy needs up to 2030 have also been given due consideration. It needs to be highlighted that the present GHG inventory has been prepared using UNFCCC revised 1996 guidelines, applying the Tier 1 approach (which includes default emission factors). Due to non-availability of detailed data in some sectors and absence of tier 2 and tier 3 approaches, the present estimates may not be considered as precise and highly accurate. Hence, there is a possibility that emissions from certain sub-sectors and sub-sub-sectors may not have been fully taken into account. Nonetheless, utilization of country/region specific emission factors would have certainly led to higher levels of emissions as compared to the presented estimates.”
    “Based on the National GHG Inventory for 2014-15, the total GHG emissions of Pakistan add up to 405 MT CO2-equivalent. The inventory quantifies the emissions for five key GHG contributing sectors of the economy, which are energy, agriculture, industrial processes, land use and forestry, and waste. ” This is an increase on 181.7 MT CO2-equivalent in 1994.
    “While from 1994 to 2015 the emissions increased by about 123 percent, the total emissions are expected to increase by about 300 percent for the projected period (2015-2030).” That’s right, by 300% – to 1,603 MT CO2 – equivalent.
    “Given the future economic growth and associated growth in the energy sector, the peaking of emissions in Pakistan is expected to take place much beyond the year 2030. An exponential increase of GHG emissions for many decades is likely to occur before any decrease in emissions can be expected. ”
    Still, it’s all so terrible that if we send them lots of money they might try to do something (unspecified):
    “In view of the importance of the objectives of UNFCCC at both the national and global levels, Pakistan is determined to reduce its emissions to the maximum extent possible. However, financial and technical constraints do not permit realization of the full mitigation potential. It is likely that these challenges will continue to feature prominently in future national discourse and would only be effectively addressed with financial grants and technical assistance from the international community.”
    “Having considered the existing potential for mitigation in the country, Pakistan intends to reduce up to 20% of its 2030 projected GHG emissions subject to availability of international grants to meet the total abatement cost for the indicated 20 percent reduction amounting to about US$ 40 billion at current prices. Pakistan’s adaptation needs range between U$ 7 to U$ 14 billion/annum during this period.”
    That’s UP TO a 20% reduction of a 300% increase – if, but only if, they receive $7-14Bn p.a. in order to help them “achieve” it.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. By the way, it’s interesting how gross exaggerations, once stated, become repeated ad nauseam and are immediately (or almost immediately) turned into “facts” in support of the cause.

    Just as the “wind power is now 1/9 the cost of gas” claim is now seen everywhere (despite the fact that it isn’t true) so is the claim that 1/3 of Pakistan was under water (despite the fact that that isn’t true either). The article I cited in my last comment on this thread, by Sherry Rehman, repeated the claim, as does this article:

    “Denmark offers ‘loss and damage’ funding to poorer countries for climate breakdown
    Denmark ‘gets ball rolling’ at UN general assembly ahead of protests, as poor nations call for much greater collective commitment”

    …She pointed to the floods in Pakistan as an example of loss and damage that rich countries need to address. “In a single day, a third of Pakistan was inundated and more people than Canada’s entire population were affected. When you wipe out an entire agricultural area, you set back already vulnerable people by decades.”…


  52. I have had very little time to contribute to Cliscep recently and I’m afraid that is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. For example, although this article is in need of a follow-up to address the issues raised in the above comments and to address Prof Otto’s attribution study properly, I am unlikely to find the time in the near future. In the meantime, I have the following general observations to add regarding the Otto study:

    1. The press statements made by Otto misrepresent the levels of uncertainty expressed in the body of the report. Upper levels of anthropogenic impact have been cited rather than the estimated average.

    2. The study brings it home just how important the definition of the event is to the outcome of the analysis. Both 60 and 5 day rainfall events are studied and the analysis is profoundly different for the two event types. The report concedes that nothing meaningful can be concluded regarding the former. All the talk of climate change fingerprint is with regard to the latter.

    3. Even regarding 5 day events, according to the study, the role of climate change was only to increase severity by about 13%. This is actually less than has been cited for deforestation, and yet deforestation doesn’t even get a mention in the report’s list of exacerbating circumstances.

    4. No mention is made by Otto of the fact that annual rainfall levels are not increasing significantly. The rainfall records used in the study confirm this but Otto seems to contradict this fact in her press statements.

    5. The study makes no attempt to explain how climate change may have affected atmospheric dynamics and hence intra-seasonal variability. Its findings appear to be based purely upon the application of the Claussius-Clapeyron effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  53. P.S. I should add to the above that the statistical handling of the climate model ensemble outputs cannot hope to capture the epistemic uncertainties (see my recent comments elsewhere).

    Liked by 1 person

  54. An interesting article on the BBC website about the recent Nigerian floods. Inevitably climate change gets a mention, but it’s little more than that. There is open acknowledgement that the flooding has many inter-locking causes.

    “Nigeria floods: ‘I have nowhere to go'”

    …The unprecedented damage has been attributed to numerous factors.

    These include poor drainage systems in many residential areas, with the channels often clogged with waste.

    This is not helped by lax enforcement of environmental laws. Indiscriminate construction on natural floodplains and storm-water paths exacerbate the problem.

    When heavy rains fall, it gets even worse.

    This year’s rain has been unprecedented and “well above the flood situation in 2012,” says Water Resources Minister Suleiman Adamu….

    …According to Nigeria’s meteorological organisation, this year is set to be Nigeria’s wettest in 40 years. Experts say climate change is partly to blame for this year’s intense rainfall, with 31 out of the country’s 36 states affected, with more rain expected before the dry season starts in late November.

    There is also untrammelled urbanisation which has damaged urban forests and wetlands.

    Ordinarily trees should help soak up water and make the environment more habitable, but Nigeria’s forest cover has shrunk over the years.

    In 2010, Nigeria had 10.9 million hectares of natural forest, or over 12% of its land area. By 2021, it had lost 96,500 hectares of that forest cover.

    As Africa’s biggest economy grappled with the devastation, neighbouring Cameroon opened its Lagdo Dam, to ease the water pressure on its side of the border along the Benue River.

    To serve as a buffer, Nigeria was supposed to complete the Dasin Hausa dam, but that is not finished despite promises made decades ago….

    The references to the loss of forest cover are of particular interest in the context of John’s article about the Pakistan floods.

    Liked by 1 person

  55. Mark,

    ‘Unprecedented’ seems to be the word of the year. It has never been used so much.

    Even so, this is a much better account of the factors behind a severe flooding event. As you say, the reference to deforestation is particularly germane and one wonders what was so wrong with mentioning it with respect to Pakistan’s plight. Different regional politics I suppose.


  56. Jit, that WUWT article mentioned an Austrian countess who bought a NZ sheep station so she could plant pines on it. This turns out to be Grafein Veronika Leeb-Goess-Saurau.

    She comes from an interesting family. In the Noughties the Goess-Saurau/Mayr-Melnhof family was reckoned to be Austria’s wealthiest. Dunno if it still is but it still owns property all over the world.

    It’s also quite violent. Veronika’s brother Count Konrad killed his wife’s dog with a rifle during a messy divorce case and a cousin, Count Tono, killed his father, stepmother and brother with a shotgun during an argument about a dumbwaiter at a family castle. (Hey, we’ve all been there.) Less violently, Count Konrad enclosed a neighbour’s property with a steel fence during an argument about a cricket pitch.

    It’s also a family that likes to give babies lots of names. For example, Veronika and Konrad’s father was christened Johann Baptist Carl-Anton Hubertus Maria Zeno Corbinian Desiderius Peter Paul Goess. (The -Saurau was added in 1948.)

    Relevance to climate change? Or Pakistan? Or flooding?


    Guten Rutsch! There’s someone at the door.


  57. I see from –
    which everybody checks, they have this statement –

    “10 O’Clock News / BBC Breakfast, BBC One, Sunday 6 November / Monday 7 November 2022

    In coverage from the COP27 Climate Change summit in Egypt we referred to floods that “had left a third” of Pakistan under water. We should have attributed this claim to Pakistan’s climate minister. In fact experts estimate that the actual proportion of the country that was under water was around ten per cent.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. dfhunter,

    It may seem like nit-picking, but I believe even the BBC “correction”, referring to “around ten per cent” is itself an exaggeration. The real figure, I believe, was eight per cent.


  59. The Indus River floodplain is about 10 percent of the total area of Pakistan. So all this means is that about 100 percent of the Indus River floodplain was inundated. This is not that surprising given that periodically the partial flood protection works will be overtopped. Improving flood protection on the Indus River is unlikely to be cost effective given the costs compared with the economic benefits which are largely to agricultural land. There is extensive irrigation in the Indus floodplain but inevitably there are flooding risks with such development. These are known risks which, presumably, the farmers are prepared to take.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.