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The risk of flooding increases if the carbon footprint is not reduced

According to new research, the annual damage caused by floods in United kingdom It could increase by more than a fifth over the next century due to climate change unless all international commitments to reduce carbon emissions are met. study that he conductedUniversity of Bristol And from to understandthe leader in global water risk modeling, unveils the first-ever dataset to assess flood risk using the latest Met Office forecasts, which factor in the potential impact of climate change.

The results show that the expected annual increase in direct national losses from flooding, due to climate change in the UK, could remain less than 5% of recent historical levels. But this is only on condition that all nations honor the ambitious promises they have made COP26 And that countries are actually implementing them at the times and in the manner envisaged.

Flood study

If collectively the promises of COP26 and Net Zero are not delivered, the study shows that the annual cost of flooding in the UK over the next century could grow between 13% and 23%, depending on different levels of climate extremes projected.

Lead author Paul BatesHydrology Professor and Fathom Chair said: “For the first time, this flood model gives us a more accurate and detailed picture of the impact of climate change on future flood risks across the UK. The findings are an early warning to the country’s political leaders and business that global commitments to significantly reduce carbon emissions need to be taken seriously. , and eventually implemented, to mitigate the increasing losses caused by the floods.”

The complex data has also highlighted places in the UK where risks will rise faster, even in a best-case scenario where global warming is limited to 1.8°C.

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Flood-prone places

Although the most optimistic climate scenarios report only modest increases in flood losses nationwide, this new data shows that this masks dramatic changes within the country, with some locations experiencing significant changes while others experiencing little. This is a consequence of changing future precipitation patterns, river flows and sea level rise, resulting in the regional variations we expected.Professor Bates said.

“We’ve found that flooding increases most in places where the risk is already high now, so the best thing we can do to prepare for the impact of climate change is to strengthen flood management in areas currently at risk, which will also lead to social benefits.”

Historical estimates of flood risk, based on actual observations of river flows, precipitation and tides, and climate model projections, match well with the Association of British Insurers’ flood loss data and shed new light on the financial cost of flooding. Previous studies by other research groups have already shown that the UK’s historical economic losses from the floods were three times less than government estimates. This is the first time that the observed losses have been replicated and confirmed by a computer model.

Flood risk is a national priority

The team of researchers plans to produce analyzes for other countries around the world to deepen understanding of how climate change affects global flood risk.

Co-author Dr Oliver WingFathom’s Chief Research Officer and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Bristol said: “This study, using new data and the latest modeling techniques, validates the Fathom map of floods in the UK and provides a new level of understanding of the impact of climate change on future floods.”

The models clearly show that flood risk should be an international priority and that current governance is not enough. While most of the country’s future flood risk already exists today, it is in the UK’s keen interest to exercise leadership in global efforts to reduce carbon, whether by example or as part of global diplomatic initiatives.”

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Earl Warner

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