Friday, August 11, 2017

Climate Change Has Influenced Timing of Europe’s Floods

An August 2005 flood tearing through Tirol, Austria. (Credit: ASI/Land Tirol/BH Landeck) Click to Enlarge.
From the heavy rains that sent the Seine into the streets of Paris last year to a parade of storms that left southern England waterlogged during the winter of 2013-2014, there have been startling examples in recent years of the heavy toll that flooding can levy in both human and economic terms.

Such events also lead to questions about the role climate change is playing in altering these threats.  A new study detailed Thursday in the journal Science finds that the timing of such floods has changed over the past 50 years across Europe because of changes in the climate, the first time a clear climate signal has been found in flooding on a Europe-wide scale.

The changes, though, aren’t uniform.  Instead, they are a patchwork of regions where floods are coming earlier or later because of the interplay with other factors like the timing of snowmelt or the types of soil in a region.

It’s not clear that all of the trends will continue into the future, but the study does make clear that there is a need to understand the role climate plays in floods in order for societies to adapt, experts say.

“It’s a reminder that we are already in a changed climate and it’s having real impacts on our societies and even on our safety in some cases,” Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, said.

Read more at Climate Change Has Influenced Timing of Europe’s Floods

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