Does the climate: causes flooding in eastern Russia

September 4, 2013. Although the Amur and Jewish Autonomous regions water is already on the decline, in the Khabarovsk region, it keeps coming. Unprecedented in scale flooding in the Far East this year left behind a devastating impact.

Russian service Bi-bi-si talked with the head of the situational center Rosgidrometsentra Yuri Varakina that caused such severe flooding in the region and whether this is due to global climate change.

Bi-bi-si: What is the reason for such severe flooding in the Far East?

Yuri Varakin: There are several reasons. First, of course, one of them — a regional climate change, which has led to an increase in the amplitude of Rossby waves, to a circulation when powerful cyclones, with highly saturated with moisture, standing over the region north-east of China, over the territory of the Russian Far East. This took place in July.

In fact, the blocking high pressure wave, the amplitude of Rossby waves, playing the role of blocking over the Pacific Ocean, eastern Japan, she did not give it Cyclones promptly pass, like an express train for two or three days and go to the cemetery of the cyclone — in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Starting from the second or third week of July and the whole last August cyclones almost stood. Field of depression superimposed on the climatic seasons monsoon.

We had the classic conditions for cyclogenesis, when there was a zone of depression, very humid air comes from the heated area of the Pacific Ocean on the mainland, and the cold center was in the south of Russia's Siberia, Mongolia, Buryatia. Was the contrast of temperatures. Moisture came even with the cyclone that came from the Kara Sea, across Siberia from the north to the south, and shared here.

You can compare this with the heat wave we have in 2010, or to the situation in Western Europe. These are processes in a chain.

Abnormally cold start of summer, the end of May — beginning of summer was in Western Europe — in France, the Benelux countries, Western Germany, and then started a heat wave — in England, Germany and the floods that took place in Western Europe, on the Danube, on the Danube riparian countries of Germany, to the Czech Republic and Austria to Romania.

There was an imbalance of the whole mechanism: to form a more powerful cyclones, which have more potential energy they capture more territory and therefore carry more moisture, they are more durable over the period of their existence.

Secondly, we had a very snowy winter, just in the area of the Amur River basin, the Songhua River and the Ussuri and Amur River on the upper reaches of the average territory of the Russian Federation on the territory of Manchuria, and late spring.

We had a lot of snow, it melted very late, and when it started the flood situation in July, the soil is already at 70-80% was saturated with moisture.

Begun in July, the rains undermined the ability to absorb this moisture. Particularly heavy rainfall took place in the upper reaches of the Amur River, near the Shilka River and other tributaries of the upper Amur. All this has created a flood wave.

The length of the surface of the water — a very large, the distance is more than 1.5 thousand kilometers. There was a flood and waterlogging as in neighboring China and the Russian Federation.

In China, just above the beach, but the situation there is also quite complicated. There's all this before, and was now, of course, is some improvement. Just as we have at the moment.

Bi-bi-si: What are the forecasts?

Y.: Komsomolsk-on-Amur on September 11-15, is expected to raise the Amur to almost 10-meter mark. The most difficult situation is now, of course, in the beginning of the second decade to emerge from Komsomolsk-on-Amur and lower — in the settlements Nizhnetambovskoye, Tsimmermanovka where excess hazardous critical marks, those marks when the water has flooded villages, houses, buildings, roads will be greater than two to two and a half meters.

This situation, unfortunately, will continue.

High levels of water at the mouth of the Ussuri within the Khabarovsk Territory will, according to Hydrometeorology, continue until mid-September to Khabarovsk and the Khabarovsk and from below the water will still stand at levels that are close to dangerous, in fact until the middle of October.

Of course, by the end of the month pass rush, but given the very large-scale floods — now it's an artificial sea, the distance at 1 500-1 800 km and width — 10-20 km in some places, the water spilled from the mainstream, of course it will be very slowly decrease. Now comes the autumn, is not as strong evaporation.

The situation is, of course, will be the middle of next month to be quite difficult, especially downstream from Khabarovsk.

Bi-bi-si: Do you connect with the flood of global climate change?

Y.: What we have again been one of the warmest years on record and the fact that such anomalies do occur, it is an example of climate change is in the Northern Hemisphere. Hardest reacts Arctic, the Arctic ice is melting, the amount of moisture in the troposphere, the lower atmosphere increases, and given the fact that warmer ocean itself, this leads to the fact that the number and duration of strong cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere increases and thus increases the amount of precipitation.

Bi-bi-si: Is there a feature in the climate of the Far East in terms of flooding?

Yuri Varakin: Actually, floods, flash floods there are times in three years, once in seven years. Certain recurrence is just now just coincided snowy winter, the duration of rainfall, and that combined several factors.

Due to a large extent we Sungurov made a very significant contribution, because it gives a water content of 40 to 50%, watercourse — 30% of all tributaries of the Amur.

And plus — the top wave, the fallout is very powerful, if the winter was not as snow and late spring, there would not be such a wave.

Overlapping waves coming from one week to ten days. All hydro Chinese side were almost overwhelmed, they just could not stand.

For example, on August 28 was a breakthrough dam on the Songhua River near the village of Tongjiang (Heilongjiang Province), which is 10 kilometers south of the border with Russia to the confluence of the Songhua River in the Amur River. It is approximately 30 km from Lenin, that is a dam on the Sungurov in several places have been destroyed under the pressure of the water, and this has given the flood centimeters, can be 10-15 cm, when the wave came down the Amur by Lenin, and on the third day to Khabarovsk — September 1-2.

Bi-bi-si: Should we expect a similar flood in the future?

Y.: I think so. This does not mean that it will be next year. The climate is changing. We can only appeal to those statistics that have been in the past years, 100-150.

Such events are likely to occur once every 150-200 years. But we have every year, either abnormally warm or with abnormal rainfall.

According to the data, and the World Meteorological Organization and the Russian Meteorological Center, we had a surplus of precipitation in the Central Federal District of European territory, Siberia, and in June and July.

The temperatures were two to three degrees above normal.

This suggests that, of course, to be expected, such releases — out of the frying pan into the fire.

This may be in the U.S., Western Europe, again, may be in Eastern Europe.

It can be not only floods, if the continent will lock, it will be again a heat wave.

When there is a lock on the mainland, if it happens in the summer — there is an abnormally long period of 30-35 days, hot weather, as it was in 2010 over the European territory. Now it's happened over the Pacific Ocean — and all the moisture has fallen over the land.

If this lock has occurred somewhere on the east coast of the Pacific Ocean, it would have dropped out over the ocean, we would, perhaps, not even paying attention, but specialists and space meteorology.

Source: BBC Russian Service

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