Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Floods to become commonplace by 2080

12.01.2009
Flooding on a scale that devastated parts of England last year is set to become a common event across the UK in the next 75 years, new research has shown.

A study by Dr Hayley Fowler, of Newcastle University, predicts that severe storms – the likes of which currently occur every five to 25 years across the UK – will become more common and more severe in a matter of decades.

Looking at ‘extreme rainfall events’ – where rain falls steadily and heavily for between one and five days – the study predicts how the intensity of these storms may change in the future.

Dr Fowler found that across the UK, the amount of rain falling during one of these extreme events was likely to increase by up to 30 per cent by 2080. This increase is most likely to occur in autumn, winter and spring when the ground is already saturated, posing the biggest threat of flooding.

Dr Fowler, Reader in Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle, explained: “Predicting how extreme rainfall might change many years in the future is very difficult because events can be quite localised, especially in the summer.

“You only have to think about how difficult it is for the Met office to predict the weather two or three days in advance – the overall picture for the country tends to stay the same but local weather patterns can change quite dramatically.

“By taking a much more detailed look at the results from different regional climate models, we have created a more accurate picture of how wet Britain will be by 2070.

“What the data quite clearly shows is that we’re going to see far more of these extreme downpours in years to come, putting more and more homes at risk from flooding, particularly in autumn and winter months when the ground is already saturated.”

The research, published online today in the International Journal of Climatology, looks at changes to seasonal extreme rainfall across the UK by 2070-2100.

Dr Fowler, who worked on the study with Dr Marie Ekstrom from Exeter University, examined seasonal rainfall data from 13 Regional Climate Models for nine regions across the UK and used this to study the projected changes.

Consistent with global warming, the team found that as the air becomes warmer and is able to hold more moisture, Britain will get wetter.

In general, the study suggests larger changes to the intensity of short duration extreme rainfall events – those lasting one or two days. Northern and western regions of the UK are predicted to be worst hit.

Dr Fowler added: “Unfortunately, we still have least confidence in the model’s predictions for the summer months and it is still highly uncertain how summer flash flooding such as the Hull and Hereford and Worcester floods in 2007 will change.

“What our data does show is that floods are no longer going to be freak events. All 13 models we looked at predict increases in extreme rainfall in winter, autumn and spring by the 2080s although the percent increase varies.

“This has major implications for flood risk management. We need to be looking now at where we build new homes, drainage systems and water storage in order to protect our homes and businesses from flooding in the future.”

Episodes of short-term extreme rainfall – such as was seen in Morpeth in 2008 – are predicted to increase in intensity by between 15 and 30 per cent.

In winter, one day downpours are predicted to increase in intensity in all regions with Scotland and northern England seeing changes of more than 20 per cent. Smaller increases are projected for southern regions, particularly south-east England.

In autumn, some regional climate models project potentially very large increases in extreme rainfall, with a rise of up to 60 per cent in some regions such as north-west England.

Dr. Hayley Fowler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>