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Extreme flooding from storm surge and heavy precipitation projected to increase in Europe

By 19th September 2019 September 22nd, 2019 No Comments

Risk of compound flooding, which can result when rapid sea level rises associated with storms occur along with heavy rains, is currently concentrated along Mediterranean countries but it will greatly increase for Northern Europe in the future as the climate warms, according to a new modelling study by researchers in Italy, Greece, France, Belgium and the UK. This is the first study of compound flooding to consider future changes that could result from combined geographic shifts in precipitation, storm surges, waves and tides.

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Compound flooding caused by the interaction between storm surge and heavy rainfall. A moderate storm surge can obstruct the gravity-feed drainage of pluvial or fluvial water into the sea. Or, rainfall on top of a storm surge inundated area can worsen the overall flooding. Credit: Douglas Maraun

The hazard of compound flooding is not usually included in coastal flooding risk analyses, even though storm surges and extreme precipitation runoff are related. What is more, coastal cities are expected to further grow in the coming decades, underscoring an urgent need to assess future compound flooding probability – which other analyses have overlooked. The work is reported in Science Advances.

The French members of the team are from the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement.

Read the research paper: Higher probability of compound flooding from precipitation and storm surge in Europe under anthropogenic climate change. E. Bevacqua et alScience Advances 10.1126/sciadv.aaw5531

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