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When President Vladimir Putin travelled to Khabarovska region to look what the record floods did in this area, ecologist told him that he has to face with not only rising waters but also with personal suspicions on global warming.
Some ecologists say that global warming caused record number of floods on Far East and they warn that there are more areas in Russia in danger from serious weather changes in future, when the problem will escalate.
High positioned officials, including the one from natural resources and surroundings Ministry, met in Khabarovska region to talk about the influence of floods, but according to previously presented solutions ecologists don’t expect any changes in government politics.
Amur region so far has been hit by floods most often, but urgent regime is on call at the moment in republic Sakha and Khabarovsk and Primorye regions, as well as in Jewish autonomous region.
Record amount of rain fell in Amur region during July and August, surpassing years average including the worst situation with floods in more than one century. River Amur’s water level nearby Khabarovsko rose for further 15 cm and last Thursday went to 7,56 m, according to statistics of national meteorological centre. The highest level measured till then was little bit higher than 6 m.
It is expected that the situation will become worst due to new falls, so local meteorologists predict that the water level could rise on 9 m before the level starts to fall, what is expected only in the middle of the month.
Preliminary estimates for damages caused by floods in Khabarovska region are 4,7 milliard roubles (141 million dollars), and that number could rise to 7 milliard roubles if the situation become worse.
Number of people hit by floods on Far East went over 50 000.The seriousness of situation makes Putin to consider postponing of local election in that part planned for 8th September.
Some experts connect record floods with global warming. Increase in carbon dioxide emission change process of modification between atmosphere and space, which leads to changes in frequency and intensity of falls, said Vladimir Chuprov, leader of energy project on Greenpeace of Russia.
Meteorologists from national meteorological centre don’t exclude that global warming can be the base of problem.
“It is possible that this kind of falls are circumstance of global warming. How to explain constant change in climate change?”, says Svetlana Ageyeva, leader of meteorological centre in Khabarov region.
During next years, Russians will see how global warming cause big droughts in south Russia, specially Krasnodar, Voronezhska and Sarat region, as Chuprov thinks. For forest taiga in European part of country, phenomenon will manifest in bigger number of fire and insects.
What makes these problems more concerning is the fact that climate forms are more and more hard to predict. For example, farmers in Central federal county from record drought 2010, can’t use natural signs such as the amount of snow in December and how clear sky is in summer.
But, they stayed undecided in making these conclusions, so Alexander Nakhutin, director deputy of Moscow’s Institute for global climate and ecology, says that it is too early to draw the direct line between record rain on Far East and global warming.
“Air circulation and falls change. This could have indirect connection, but due to current scientific findings, we can’t claim that global warming is the cause of floods”, said Nakhutin.
Summer on Far East started in unusual terms. Spring was wetter that usually, what caused at the beginning higher water level in rivers, later worse thanks to heavy rains.
No matter what the cause for floods in this area is, scientists say that years of researches are needed to define roles of global warming.
Minister for development of Far East Viktor Ishayev said that one of preventive measures against future floods is improvement of long term scientific forecast for floods, including their connection with climate changes.
Yet, in practise it is shown that in Russia natural disasters do not help as stimulus for bigger national investments in science. Government will very probably focus all its attention on trying to solve crisis than to find what cause it, so that indirect support to the scientist is not significant.
Chuprov said that national weather centre improved so to start talking about global warming what is neutral body does not have political difficulty.
“ Centre is in a trap. It sees that things are not in order and that theories on causes have grounds, but its results are in conflict with oil and gas industry”, says Chupov. “Even there is 10 % more floods, situation will not change. On one side there are simply people, and on the other side businesses valid multi million dollars”, he added.
Higher officials use natural causes as their benefits, claiming that they are reasons for pumping more money in companies in national ownership or under national control.
Existing hydro powers helped to reduce the damage of floods on Far East, said Jevgenij Dod, head of company in partial ownership of national RusHydro.
Dod added that big parts of river Amur are still irregular, what cause periodical floods, and that new hydro powers can be built to prevent these floods.
Two hydro power stations are under construction in region Amur currently, and two other are in phase of projecting, even thought ecologists say that these projects are harmful for environment.
“Authorities have probably admitted that global warming is a part of problem while economy crisis seems necessary for them to change ecology praxis of country”, says Chupov.« Vrati se na prethodnu stranicu