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Hi, I'm Bryan Yeaton and this is the weather notebook's weekly segment
on global climate change. In 1998, a devastating monsoon season
in Bangladesh left nearly 70% of the country underwater for two months.
As Manisha Aryal reports today, that flood caused lots of damage and
raised fears about future monsoons.
Bangladesh is a Delta country. Three great Himalayan Rivers -- the Ganges,
the Brahmaputra and the Meghana -- pass through the country and drain into
the Bay of Bengal. If one were to collect the total volume of water that
passes through Bangladesh annually and average it out, the entire country
would be 9 meters under water throughout the year.
Bangladeshis know how to live with large amounts of water on their
land says Mafoojul Haq of the Bangladesh Government's Ministry of
Environment and Forests.
MH: Flood is nothing new to us. We commute from one place to another in boats.
When it is not devastating, we are not worried.
But the floods that followed in the wake of 1998 monsoon was anything but
MH: Two thirds of Bangladesh was inundated and it remained under water for 2
long months. That was a real nightmare for us. Now with global warming,
natural disasters will increase -- both in intensity of flooding cyclones
and tidal bore will increase.
... and wreak havoc, they believe, in a country where a large percentage of
the 131 million residents live in coastal areas. Scientists in Bangladesh
link the devastating floods of 1998 on the change in global climate. They believe that
the increase in flood flows in the three big rivers that pass through
Bangladesh is due to the increase in snow melt in the Himalayas and
enhanced monsoon rainfall; both effects are believed to be a direct result
of global warming.
For The Weather Notebook, I'm Manisha Aryal in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Our series on global climate change is generously supported by the New England
Science Center Collaborative and the Roy A. Hunt foundation.
More on Bangladesh