Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Extreme rainfall’ incidents increasing in parts of UK

04.09.2006
EXTREME rainfall events - those likely to lead to flooding - have become more frequent and intense over a 40-year period in parts of Britain, particularly in Scotland and the North of England.

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 mm

More follows….
in 1961-90 to 166.51 mm in 1991-2000; in Northern England, Northern Wales and Ireland there was a nine per cent increase, from 119.64 in 1961-90 to 130.94 mm in 1991-2000. But in Southern England and Southern Wales there was a two per cent decrease, from 107.42 mm in 1961-90 to 105.06 mm in 1991-2000.
The pattern of change in extremes uncovered by Dr Fowler and colleagues matches
the predictions made in a number of models that estimate the scale and speed of climate change over the next century.

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
Further information:
http://www.ncl.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>