Warmer globe = heavier downpours: UK needs flood prevention

“There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly heavy rain events.”  (UK Met Office)   It is basic physics:  A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. This contributes to heavier downpours

The globe’s increasingly erratic climate has shown its ability to impact even a rich country like the UK. ‘Storm Desmond’ has deposited very large quantities of rain over Scotland, northern England and north Wales, causing widespread flooding – particularly in Cumbria. The Met Office say that Honister Pass has set a UK rain record for any 24-hour period, of 341.4 mm. Provisional data has a new 48 hour rain record at Thirlmere of at least 405mm – that’s 16 inches.

In Keswick, the £6m flood defences overtopped on 5th Dec, flooding the town centre and causing people to be evacuated. The defences had only just been installed in 2012.  Following previous floods in 2009 and 2005 – showing that river levels have exceeded what was considered extreme even just three years ago.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss said: “There is a mark on the bridge in Carlisle showing the flood level in 1853. The 2005 flood was half a metre higher than 1853, which was the highest on record until then. This 2015 flood was half a metre higher again.”

We’re a rainy island and storms can always cause occasional extremes of weather. But Met Office data clearly shows that annual rainfall has been increasing in the UK since the 1980s.  Five out of the 6 wettest years in the UK have all been since the year 2000

And two years ago, in December 2013 – February 2014, the UK experienced its wettest winter ever recorded.

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change said
on Monday 7 th December 2015 that “ The devastating flooding this weekend is a timely reminder that climate change is expected to increase the frequency and magnitude of severe flooding across the UK.”

UK Friends of the Earth: 8 Dec 2015

Key Words: Climate Change, risks
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