Higher temperatures drive risk of flash floods

2015-06-08 21:11
Houses are seen under the water in a flooded valley. (Panagiotis Patsatzis, AP)

Houses are seen under the water in a flooded valley. (Panagiotis Patsatzis, AP)

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Paris - Warmer temperatures have a dramatic effect on rainfall patterns, heightening the risk of flash floods, according to an Australian study published on Monday.

In research published in the journal Nature Geoscience, civil engineers at the University of New South Wales analysed nearly 40 000 storms that occurred in Australia over a 30-year span.

As temperatures rose, so did the risk of more intense downpours, in which larger volumes of water are dumped over a shorter time.

"These more intense patterns are leading to more destructive storms, which can significantly influence the severity of flood flows," said lead author Conrad Wasko.

"The climate zones we studied in Australia are representative of most global climates, so it's very likely these same trends will be observed around the world."

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that given present emissions trends, the planet could be up to 4.8°C warmer by 2100.

UN members, meeting in the former West German capital of Bonn, have vowed to keep warming to 2°C or less compared to pre-industrial times.

They intend to seal the deal at a conference in Paris in December.

Read more on:    nature geoscience  |  france  |  australia  |  weather  |  climate change

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