Floods and droughts of 2006- 2007

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The periods between the years 2006 to 2007, the weather was full of the unexpected extremes. Some regions experienced droughts while others experienced floods. These two are extremes and exactly the opposite of each other. Both floods and droughts have adverse effects on human beings and animals. These two weather conditions mostly occur when they are least expected and therefore very minimal preparations are normally there before hand. (Groisman, 2006)

One of the worst floods was witnessed in South East Asia in the year 2006. There was the Typhoon Utor which on December 9 2006 crossed the Philippines. There was abnormal rainfall in the southern provinces of Singapore and in Malaysia. In the year 2006, December 24, rainfall of 366mm was recorded in Singapore. This occurred within twenty four hours only. This resulted in floods which were described by local officials as the worst in the century.

In the year 2006, there was also a drought that occurred in Australia. This drought started early the year 2003 and in 2006 it worsened. This was because the spring rains failed a great deal. This was very prevalent in Southern part of Australia. North America was also not left out in the ups and downs of weather changes. This started in the end of June, when there was a persistence of tropical low of the Coast that occurred in North Carolina. It actually circulated hot air that is moist over the Mid Atlantic states. This combined with jet stream that started pouring rains over the States in Mid Atlantic. This actually resulted in water bodies and rivers overflowing. The magnitude of this occurrence was very high that it was reported that this had such floods had not occurred in this area for more than two years.

Source; Ryan, G. (2006): North Dakota floods and droughts; U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2375, p. 435
The diagram above shows flooding in New Jersey
The situation is that the occurrence of floods and droughts has become quite common since the year 2006. Initially floods and droughts used to take a long period of time before they occurred. Of late they occur after very short intervals. This is according to the research carried out in the year 2006 in December. Floods have become very common occurrence all over the world. These are casing deaths of very many people both young and old. (Maslin, 2004)

The question that many people ask is why the occurrence of these floods and droughts is so common in the resent past. The following are some of the reasons as to why all this is happening. One of the reasons is deforestation. Since the 19th century, deforestation has become a common activity in very many nations. Deforestation is described in simple terms as the cutting of trees. One finds that people tend to fell trees in forests such that the area becomes bare land without trees. Research has indicated that trees attract rainfall so when there is deforestation there tend to be draughts occurring quite often. Many people are cutting trees and using the land for other purposes like building houses and business premises. There are others who fell trees and use them for commercial purposes without planting others.

Global warming is one of the reasons as to why there have been extreme changes in climate. These changes include frequent occurrence of drought and floods all over the world. With local and global temperatures going up due to global warming, there are evidences of increased occurrences of extreme weather patterns particularly rainfall, precipitation, evaporation rate and humidity. The most recent of this is the Hurricane that hit Brazil in 2006 and it measured about 40 m/s. This was the first time a Hurricane hit a country south of the Equator. Another phenomenon was the Tsunami that struck countries along the coast line of the Indian oceans damaging property and killing millions of people.

Global warming as seen above results in increased amounts of rainfall which in turn causes an increase in erosion levels in arid and semi-arid areas of island nations which does not have adequate protective vegetation cover Loss of soil implicates that the quality of soil cannot support the desired agricultural production and consequently low economic value for the country. With strong waves and wind speeds, some weather phenomenon can uproot trees in some areas resulting deforestation and in the future deserts can be created. (Ryan, 2006)

What needs to be done in this case is that aforestation should be carried out. This simply means that trees are planted in the areas that they were cut. This when well implemented will help solve the problem of droughts. (Zhi-Yong, 2006)

Global warming is in it not clear to the scientist trying to come up with a solution to it and therefore it is difficult to answer the question on how to manage global warming. Although many environmental activists have been trying to convince the current world leaders to adopt a common law that will see the elimination of fossil fuels in our countries, stiff criticism have been focused that suggests that alternative sources of fuel be developed to automatically weed what is now available in the market. Companies such as Mobil would rather resist keeping their businesses alive. However, at an individual level, the following simple practices can help reduce global warming and droughts and floods at large. (Williams, 2006)
 Implementing already documented policies on environmental issues.
 Tree planting and places where deforestation has occurred.
 Proper landscaping of our homes i.e. deflecting winds away from home.
 Using hybrid vehicles with inflated tires and proper air filters.
 Unplugging of un-used electronics.
 Carpooling
The idea of the commons is all about natural things that are used by all men. They include air and water. The commons has a very important function in the society. This includes resources that are shared in the society by all. The idea of the commons relate to the subject of floods and droughts because water is a resource that is used by all people in the society and the world at large. No one can claim to own it as such.

In conclusion, it is very evident that the year 2006-2007 has had very many floods and droughts. The occurrence of these two phenomena has become so common. This is happening because of various reasons. There has been increased deforestation in many countries. Globalisation is also an aspect that has contributed a great deal to the occurrence of floods and droughts. To solve this problem of floods and droughts, aforestation needs to be carried out in the areas that deforestation occurred. Global warming on the other hand can be prevented through the use of hybrid vehicles with inflated tires and proper air filters among other solutions. This will help solve the problem of floods and droughts that has become so prevalent in the year 2006-2007

Groisman, P. (2006): Variability and trends of total precipitation and snowfall over the United States and Canada; Journal of Climate; vol.7, no.1, p. 184-205

Maslin, M. (2004): Global warming: a very short introduction: - New York; Oxford University Press

Meehl, G. (2007): How much more global warming and sea level rise? Science 307:2006- 2007

Rosenberry, D. (2007): Dynamics of water-table fluctuations In upland between two prairie-pothole wetlands in North Dakota: Journal of Hydrology, v. 191, no. 1-4, p. 266-289

Ryan, G. (2006): North Dakota floods and droughts; U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2375, p. 435-442

U.S Environment Protection Agency (2007): Climate Change; Retrieved From, http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/, on 13-11-07

Wetherald, R. and Manabe, S. (2006): Simulation of hydrologic changes associated with global warming: Journal of Geophysical Research 107: 4379

Wiche, G. (2007): June 2006 floods in the Red River of the North Basin in north eastern North Dakota and north western Minnesota: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-278

Williams, T. (2006): From dry to wet; 2006-2007; North Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet FS-075-99

Zhi-Yong, Y. (2006): Moisture condition in the south-eastern USA and tele-connection patterns; International Journal of Climatology, vol.14, no.9, p. 947- 67

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