Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Flooding in U.S. Midwest Is Becoming More Frequent, Research Shows

Floods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2008 nearly covered the city with water. (Credit: nsf.gov) Click to Enlarge.
Flooding in the U.S. Midwest has become more frequent over the last half-century, a new study in Nature Climate Change has found, confirming what many residents of the region had already suspected. Of the nearly 800 stream sites analyzed, more than one-third had an increase in flood event frequency, while only 9 percent showed a decrease in flooding. 

Although the study did not attempt to link the increase in flooding with climate change, the findings do fit well with current thinking among scientists about how the hydrologic cycle is being affected by climate change, the researchers say.  In general, as the atmosphere becomes warmer, it holds more moisture, and one consequence of higher water vapor concentrations is more frequent, intense precipitation.  During the past several decades, large floods have plagued the Midwest in 1993, 2008, 2011, 2013, and again in 2014, causing billions of dollars of agricultural and economic losses and numerous deaths.

Read original article at Flooding in U.S. Midwest Is Becoming More Frequent, Research Shows

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