Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

?Extreme rainfall? to hit the North

Ten per cent of the UK population will experience flooding ‘with increasing regularity’, and the North East of England and Scotland will be hardest hit, according to research by the University of Newcastle. The findings provide further evidence of climate change occurring, say the scrientists, who analysed UK weather records from 1961-2000.

The team examined ‘extreme rainfall events’, where rain was observed to fall steadily over either one, two, five or ten days. They found the probability of an extreme five or ten day rainfall event increased by four times in Scotland and by two times in Northern England in the 1990s, compared to the 1960s. The probability of extreme rainfall in South East England has decreased by 1.5 times, but further analysis showed that this part of the country is experiencing a greater frequency of smaller extreme rainfall events, and a change in the timing of such events, with a greater frequency in autumn months. These still pose a threat in terms of flooding because a greater amount of rain is falling in total.

Dr Fowler, a senior research associate with Newcastle University’s School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, said: “The changes we observed over the 40-year period we studied are consistent with the trend we would expect from global warming. “If the trend continues, which is likely, this suggests we will have an increase in flooding over the coming years which has major implications for flood risk management.”

Water companies should consider ways in which they can store water during extreme rainfall events for later use, probably during the summer months, which are expected to get drier over the coming years, advised Dr Fowler. “One solution could be to build storage facilities such as small reservoirs close to rivers to catch the excess water following extreme rainfall events,” she said. “This could also help alleviate the potential for flooding as well as solve the water shortage crisis we are likely to experience in the summer months.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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