A recent study conducted by Thomas Wahl of the University of Siegen in Germany and the University of South Florida College of Marine Science suggests that climate change will increase the number of floods in the US. The main reasons which will cause floods are the moderate storm surge which slows down drainage or even blocks it, the heavy rainfall and the elevated water levels. The paper was published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The flooding will mainly affect cities placed in the coastal area of the US: from San Francisco and New York to Galveston and Boston. It seems that the risk of flooding is higher than it was previously believed. Because of the climate change the risk of flooding has tripled. The fatal combination of precipitation and storm surge can increase the number and intensity of floods in coastal areas of the US.
For the study the researchers used data from the 1950s and from the beginning of the 20th century. The findings of the research indicate that cities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are exposed to a higher risk of flooding than cities on the Pacific coast. Thomas Wahl remarked:
Nearly 40 percent of the US population resides in coastal counties. Flooding can have devastating impacts for these low-lying, densely populated and heavily developed regions and have wide-ranging social, economic and environmental consequences.”
The authors also found out that as far as New York City is concerned the storm surge weather patterns are responsible for the increased number of compound events because they favor heavy rainfall. This is different than the case when weather event s such as heavy rainfall were accompanied by storm surges.
A noticeable number of cities have already started developing measures to cope with the possible floods. Such an example is the city of Texas which has already faced catastrophic floods in May. Cities have stopped developing around waterways and started improving building codes.
Thomas Wahl explained that the main purpose of the study was to draw attention to the existence of such events which are very dangerous. This is something which people should start being concerned about eve though so far this matter was ignored according to Wahl.
Image Source: mirror.co.uk