Scientists from Newcastle University, who analysed UK weather records from 1961-2000, say the findings provide further evidence of climate change occurring.
They also suggest that the 5 million people who live near to rivers - ten per cent of the UK population - can expect to be flooded with increasing regularity in the future which has implications for the management of flooding and water resources.
Dr Hayley Fowler, a member of the research team who will speak about the project at the BA Festival of Science in Norwich on September 6*, used records from the UK Met Office and the British Atmospheric Data Centre.
She and colleagues examined four distinct periods classed as ‘extreme rainfall events’ ie where rain was observed to fall steadily over either one, two, five or ten days. They found the probability of an extreme five or ten day rainfall event during the 1990s, compared to the previous 30 year period, increased by four times in Scotland and by two times in Northern England.
The probability of an extreme rainfall event in South East England over five and ten day events actually decreased by 1.5 times but further analysis showed that this part of the country is experiencing a greater frequency of smaller extreme rainfall events, and a change in the timing of such events, with a greater frequency in autumn months. These still pose a threat in terms of flooding because a greater amount of rain is falling in total.
Additional analysis showed that extreme rainfall events that are expected to happen every 50 years increased in frequency and size in Scotland and Northern England, especially in the autumn.
Dr Fowler compared the periods 1991-2000 with 1961-1990 for the likelihood of 50-year extreme rainfall events. For an event that would be expected only once every 50 years during 1961-1990, during the 1990s this magnitude of event occurred once every eight years in Eastern Scotland, once every 11 years in Southern Scotland, once every 25 years in Northern Scotland, North West England and North East England. In Central East England and Northern Ireland there has been no change. However, in Southern England this type of event would now be expected only once every 100 years.
The amount of rain falling in the UK for a 50-year event occurring over five days rose by 12 per cent overall during the 40-year period examined by the Newcastle University researchers, from 119.59 mm in 1961-90 to 134.17 mm in 1991-2000.
Yet a further breakdown of the figures for five-day rainfall events showed a stark contrast between locations. In Scotland there was a 29 per cent increase in rainfall, from 131.72 mmMore follows….
Dr Fowler, a senior research associate with Newcastle University’s School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, said: “The changes we observed over the 40-year period we studied are consistent with the trend we would expect from global warming.
“If the trend continues, which is likely, this suggests we will have an increase in flooding over the coming years which has major implications for flood risk management.”
Extreme rainfall, however, is just one factor contributing to the increasing likelihood of flooding - other causes include increased building on floodplains, changing land management practices and the drainage of upland moorland.
Dr Fowler added that water companies should consider ways in which they can store water during extreme rainfall events for later use, probably during the summer months which are expected to get drier over the coming years.
“One solution could be to build storage facilities such as small reservoirs close to rivers to catch the excess water following extreme rainfall events,” she said.
“This could also help alleviate the potential for flooding as well as solve the water shortage crisis we are likely to experience in the summer months.”
Dr Fowler, who is using the data to carry out an analysis of climate change models and their potential reliability, now intends to delve further back into weather records to observe trends over a longer period of time.
Claire Jordan | alfa
Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University
Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
23.11.2017 | Information Technology
23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.11.2017 | Life Sciences