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The power of nature combined with the effects of climate change delivered a devastating blow to Libya recently. On September 11, 2023, heavy rainfall triggered catastrophic floods in Derna, northeastern Libya, with consequences far beyond imagination. A staggering revelation from the World Weather Attribution initiative unveils the magnitude of the problem: planet-warming Pollution increased the odds of such deadly rainfall in Libya by a factor of up to 50.
Source: BBC News/YouTube
When it comes to Global warming’s effects, the Mediterranean isn’t immune. This region has witnessed a spike in extreme rainfall. Spain grappled with deadly floods early this month, taking at least six lives. Soon after, Storm Daniel wreaked havoc in Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria. The aftermath? Damaged farmlands, a battered economy, and a rising death toll.
However, Libya bore the brunt of it. The unusually warm waters of the Mediterranean provided fuel for Storm Daniel, resulting in record rainfall and leading to devastating consequences such as dam collapses. The most heart-wrenching fact is that around 4,000 people lost their lives, while more than 10,000 are still unaccounted for.
Delving deeper into the causes, scientists found that Climate change has made such heavy rainfalls not just more likely but also more intense. Specifically, the rainfall in Libya was up to 50% more intense due to Climate change. For nations like Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria, the rain was up to 10 times more probable and 40% heavier.
So, why is this happening? As the planet warms, the air holds more moisture – about 7% more for every 1-degree Celsius increase. This surge, coupled with other human-made factors like inadequate infrastructure and buildings in flood-prone areas, sets the stage for calamities.
However, there’s a silver lining. By investing in better early warning systems and robust evacuation plans, we can mitigate these risks. As Friederike Otto from Imperial College London rightly points out, “Reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience to all types of extreme weather is paramount for saving lives.”
Let this be a wake-up call. The clock is ticking, but with united efforts, we can combat the dire effects of climate change and ensure a safer future.
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