Feb 1, 2016
Human influence on climate in the 2014 southern England winter floods and their impacts
Nature Climate Change
- States that a succession of storms reaching southern England in the winter of 2013/2014 caused severe floods and £451 million insured losses
- Finds that anthropogenic warming (in addition to increasing the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold) caused a small but significant increase in the number of January days with westerly flow, both of which increased extreme precipitation.
- Hydrological modelling indicates this increased extreme 30-day-average Thames river flows, and slightly increased daily peak flows, is consistent with the understanding of the catchment’s sensitivity to longer-duration precipitation and changes in the role of snowmelt
- Consequently, flood risk mapping shows a small increase in properties in the Thames catchment potentially at risk of riverine flooding, with a substantial range of uncertainty, demonstrating the importance of explicit modelling of impacts and relatively subtle changes in weather-related risks when quantifying present-day effects of human influence on climate