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New NASA Study Finds Wild Weather Caused by Same Events

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Although they occurred 1,500 miles apart and were entirely different in nature, the two most destructive natural disasters of 2010 were linked by a single meteorological event, a new NASA study finds.

Scientists found that the same large-scale meteorological event—an abnormal Rossby wave—sparked both extreme heat and persistent wildfires in Russia as well as unusual downstream wind patterns that shifted rainfall in the Indian monsoon region, causing heavy flooding in Pakistan.

“Think of the atmosphere like a loose membrane. If you push one part up, something else has to come down somewhere else. If you produce a high in one region, you produce a corresponding low in another,” William Lau, a NASA atmospheric scientist who co-authored the report published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology, explained.

The 2010 Russian event produced the hottest summer in the country's history, causing roughly $15 billion in damages and killing an estimated 56,000 people in more than 300 wildfires. 

The Pakistan flood submerged one-fifth of the country's total land mass—approximately 307,374 square miles—and had a death toll of around 2,000, though it directly affected 20 million people with the destruction of property.

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