Istanbul flood result of Turkey's climate change

Published 21.07.2017 00:00

Istanbul, the largest and most populous city in Turkey, was hit by severe rainfall which was followed by a flood on Tuesday. This natural disaster has brought the global warming issue and its effects in the region onto the agenda once again.

Professor Orhan Şen of Istanbul Technical University, speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) correspondent, said heavy rainfall is an expected result of global warming.

"This is the result of global warming, which has led to climate change. Turkey's climate is changing. It is becoming a semi-arid climate and it is common to see this kind of heavy rain in this type of climate."

Professor Şen said the average temperature in Istanbul during the summer was 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) four years ago, noting that the temperature dropped as low as 24 degrees on the day of the heavy rainfall. "There was a temperature drop of up to 10 degrees on Monday night and this created a mix in the atmosphere. The rain was inevitable," he added.

Noting that a sudden drop in temperature is the signature feature of a semi-arid climate, Professor Şen continued: "You see this type of sudden and heavy rain in Miami. During summer, heavy rain begins and stops suddenly. The change in Turkey's climate has been happening in the last 10 years but it has become more evident now. We are now seeing excessive rains, drought and whirlwinds. However, climates do not change in 10 or 20 years. It will take time to see the real changes in Turkey, but it is changing for sure."

According to Şen, the cause of the flood following the rainfall is not just climate change and global warming but also the urban settlement of Istanbul. "The rural areas in Istanbul are almost gone. As there is so much concrete, the water formed a flood and dragged along everything that it came across."

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