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!
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences