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Global warming increases flood risk in mountain areas

Date:
January 22, 2010
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
The world's mountainous regions are home to about 800 million people and the source of some of the world's major rivers. In these regions, runoff is strongly affected by temperature. This suggests that flooding could be quite sensitive to global warming, but there has been some lack of scientific consensus on the effects of temperature variations on floods.

The world's mountainous regions are home to about 800 million people and the source of some of the world's major rivers. In these regions, runoff is strongly affected by temperature. This suggests that flooding could be quite sensitive to global warming, but there has been some lack of scientific consensus on the effects of temperature variations on floods.

Allamano et al. show that global warming does increase flood risk significantly. The authors analyzed runoff data recorded by 27 stations in the Swiss Alps and used a simple probabilistic model to study how flood risk varies with temperature, precipitation, and elevation in mountainous regions.

The researchers found that large floods have occurred more frequently in recent years than in the past, and they predict that global warming will result in such floods occurring even more often in the future.

In particular, they found that if global temperatures increase by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), then large floods that occurred about once every 100 years could occur up to 5 times more often.

The research appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Authors include P. Allamano, P. Claps, and F. Laio, Dipartimento di Idraulica, Trasporti ed Infrastrutture Civili, Politecnico di Torino.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Allamano et al. Global warming increases flood risk in mountainous areas. Geophysical Research Letters, 2009; 36 (24): L24404 DOI: 10.1029/2009GL041395

Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Global warming increases flood risk in mountain areas." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121164054.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2010, January 22). Global warming increases flood risk in mountain areas. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121164054.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Global warming increases flood risk in mountain areas." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121164054.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

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