Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increase in reported flooding a result of higher exposure

Date:
August 19, 2014
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A rise in the number of reported floods in the UK over the past 129 years can mainly be explained by increased exposure, resulting from urban expansion and population growth, according to new research. The rise in UK flood reports over the 20th Century coincides with population growth from 38.2 million to 59.1 million and a tripling in the number of houses, from 7.7 million to 24.8 million.

A rise in the number of reported floods in the UK over the past 129 years can mainly be explained by increased exposure, resulting from urban expansion and population growth, according to new research by the University of Southampton.

Related Articles


In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, scientists have discovered that although the number of reported floods has gone up during the 20th and 21st Century, this trend disappears when the figures are adjusted to reflect population growth and increased building numbers over the same period.

Published in the journal Hydrological Sciences, the study looks at data sets from 1884 to 2013 and found an upward trend in reported flooding, with flood events appearing more frequently towards the end of the 20th century, peaking in 2012 when annual rainfall was the second highest in over 100 years.

The rise in UK flood reports over the 20th Century coincides with population growth from 38.2 million to 59.1 million and a tripling in the number of houses, from 7.7 million to 24.8 million.

"As a result there were more properties exposed to flooding and more people to report flooding," says lead author Andrew Stevens. "A higher exposure to flooding will result in more reported flood events and larger potential damages."

The study found significant variation between decades in both the raw and adjusted data, with the years between 1908 -1934, 1977 -- 1988 and 1998 -- 2013 featuring a relatively high numbers of reported floods.

The effect of increasing and improving flood defences is unclear. While upgrades to artificial defences, like the Thames Barrier, have reduced the effect of extreme sea level events, natural flood defences may have declined over the study period.

"Attributing periods of reduced flood damage simply to the effects of improved management is difficult and must be done with care," says co-author Derek Clarke.

Professor Robert Nicholls adds "These observations should not stop concern about future flood impacts, especially in coastal areas where faster sea-level rises are expected and areas potentially exposed to higher rainfall intensities. Future flood risk may be very sensitive to changes in funding or management approaches and this has important implications for decision makers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrew J. Stevens, Derek Clarke, Robert J. Nicholls. Trends in reported flooding in the UK: 1884–2013. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 2014; 140807222205003 DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2014.950581

Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Increase in reported flooding a result of higher exposure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819200213.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2014, August 19). Increase in reported flooding a result of higher exposure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819200213.htm
University of Southampton. "Increase in reported flooding a result of higher exposure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140819200213.htm (accessed February 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

Death Toll from Afghan Avalanches Tops 200

AFP (Feb. 27, 2015) More than 200 people have been killed in a series of avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

France, Philippines Call for Agreement on Climate Change

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) The presidents of France and the Philippines issue a joint appeal for a binding agreement on climate change. Katie Sargent reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Big Melt: Antarctica's Retreating Ice

The Big Melt: Antarctica's Retreating Ice

AP (Feb. 27, 2015) From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can&apos;t be seen is the battle raging underfoot to re-shape Earth. Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice. (Feb. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Storm Means Dangerous Driving in South

Winter Storm Means Dangerous Driving in South

AP (Feb. 26, 2015) A new winter storm is stretching across the south, making travel treacherous throughout the region. (Feb. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins