24 June 2014,
Comments Comments Off on More summer flash floods predicted in the UK
Extreme summer downpours will significantly increase with global warming. A recent study by the Met Office and researchers from Newcastle University say 5 times the number of extreme rainfall events (>28mm per hour) should be expected under extreme warming projections. Scientists say that this could cause really severe flash flooding in many parts of the UK, however, this is only based on one computer model.
Until recently scientists have struggled to discover how global warming will affect extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall in the UK. The computer models haven’t been powerful enough but to increase their accuracy, the scientists used 1.5km grid spacings as well as the normal 12km.
The researchers looked back over recent years at climate patterns and used the most recent climate projections from the IPCC to assess up to 2100. The models found that future summers would be drier overall but intense downpours (defined as more than 28mm of rainfall per hour) would significantly increase. Dry periods followed by heavy rain lead to severe flash floods.
The scientists have stressed that this is just one model simulation based on the most extreme predicted temperature increases. Even so, they believe that they have shown that global warming will increase the frequency of heavy downpours in British summers, and their research is an important step to understanding future flood risks.