While Pakistanis count the cost of one of the country’s worst recorded floods, heavy rain is hitting southwestern China as the Texas city of Dallas recovers from a 10-inch deluge in a single day last month.
Each of these rain-fuelled disasters followed a heatwave, suggesting the regions have been swinging wildly between two contradictory extremes. But extreme heat and extreme rainfall are closely related – and being gassed-up by climate change, scientists say.
Sweltering spring temperatures in South Asia, topping 50 degrees Celsius, are likely to have warmed the Indian Ocean. That warm water would then have fuelled what the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this week called “a monsoon on steroids” over Pakistan – dumping more than three times as much rain as the 30-year average for August and inundating a third of the country.
More than 1,100 people have been killed, crops are ruined, and homes destroyed, prompting urgent pleas for aid.