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Climate change: Flooding costs to soar in ‘staggering’ new climate change warning | Science | News

Climate change: Flooding costs to soar in ‘staggering’ new climate change warning | Science | News

Flooding

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Climate changeOur planet has already seen many visible changes from the impacts of climate change. Glaciers have shrunk and are continuing to shrink, trees are blooming earlier in the season, and the world is seeing more extreme weather events. Several European countries were affected by severe floods last summer — causing widespread damage and at least 242 deaths.

Floods in Germany2021 was the worst natural disaster in the country’s history since the 1962 North Sea flood. More than 15,000 police officers, soldiers, and emergency service workers were sent to assist with the rescue operation.

New research suggests that the financial cost of flooding could rise by more than 25% in the United States by 2050.

The University of Bristol-led Study, published today in Nature Climate ChangeTo make the concerning calculations, he used advanced modelling techniques.

They forecasted average annual flood losses would increase by 26.4 percent in less than 30 years, rising from $32billion (£23.8billion) to approximately $40.6billion (£30.2billion) in 2050.

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Flooding

Germany was devastated last summer by severe flash flooding. (Image: GETTY)

American flood risk

Map showing the distribution of US flood risk (average annual losses) by county and projected change. (Image: Fathom)

To assess the flood risk in the United States, the team used data from nationwide property assets and detailed flood protections.

The estimates include commercial damage and were based upon 2021 dollar values.

Inflation could make the numbers even higher.

Dr Oliver Wing, the study’s lead author, said: “Climate change combined with shifting populations present a double whammy of flood risk danger and the financial implications are staggering.

Storm surge simulation in Miami

A 500-year design storm surge simulation in Miami, (Image: Fathom)

“Typical risk models rely on historical data which doesn’t capture projected climate change or offer sufficient detail.

“Our sophisticated techniques using state-of-the science flood models give a much more accurate picture of future flooring and how populations will be affected.”

The study found that the most dangerous communities are those with a higher proportion of white residents. However, this is changing.

Future growth in flood risks is expected to have a greater effect on African-American communities located on both the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coasts.

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Flood simulation in Kansas City

Kansas City, 100-year flood simulation. (Image: Fathom)

Dr Wing added: “The mapping clearly indicates black communities will be disproportionately affected in a warming world, in addition to the poorer white communities which predominantly bear the historical risk.”

Dr Wing said these new findings are of “significant concern”.

He said: “The research is a call to action for adaptation and mitigation work to be stepped up to reduce the devastating financial impact flooding wreaks on people’s lives.”

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Last year was a particularly catastrophic year for weather and climate disasters in the US, with 200 separate events costing at least $1billion (£740million) in damage, according to a report published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration earlier this month.

Nationwide simulation of flooding risk.

The simulation of the national flood prediction for 100 years from fluvial and pluvial sources. (Image: Fathom)

The 20 events are the second-highest total, surpassing only 2020’s 22 events record.

Flooding alone caused massive destruction across the US. Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arizona were the hardest hit.

According to an AccuWeather report from May last year, the town of Alabaster saw 7.03 inches (178.6mm) of rainfall in one day — more than Californian cities such as Los Angeles had seen in the entire year beforehand.

According to the Nature Climate Change report, a warming climate is increasing the hydrological cycle.

This makes extreme precipitation (and possibly inland flooding) more severe.

Sea levels are also rising because of rising temperatures, which cause ice mass to melt. Low pressure and high winds from severe storms may increase coastal flooding.

Professor Paul Bates, one of the UK’s leading flooding experts, said: “Current flood risk in western society is already unacceptably high, yet climate and population change threaten to inflate these losses significantly.

“The relatively short timescales over which this increase will take place mean we cannot rely on decarbonisation to reduce the risk so we have to adapt better, both to the situation now and for the future.”



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