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 November 28, 2014 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 November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
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