Climate change could lead to more flooding in certain areas of the US following extreme weather events.
A new study released this week took a look at storms between 2000 and 2013 and developed a climate model to show how similar storms would look if they occurred in a climate that was 9 degrees F warmer, about what some experts are predicting will happen by 2100, and the findings were quite frightening.
In a report on huffingtonpost.com, the study estimates those storms would grow in intensity and frequency, primarily because the warmer atmosphere would hold an increased amount of moisture, and we would see as much as a 70 percent increase in intensity.
And the hardest hit area would be the Southwest, Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast states, due to their close proximity to the oceans, which already accounts for increased moisture in the air.
Lead author on the study, Andreas Prein, called the events a “horror scenario” and predicted the current infrastructure would be overwhelmed by such an increase in activity and flooding that would occur after such extreme rainfall events. We only need look back to earlier in the year as such flooding devastated parts of Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia and North Carolina.
But, the same model found that not all of the nation would be hit by the increased rainfall, in fact, projecting much drier conditions in certain parts of the US. The researchers say the model predicts lower that normal moderate rainfall events in states such as Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska, but also found that an extreme even could still lead to widespread flooding in some of those areas as well.
Ironically, long-term dry conditions actually can contribute to flooding in an extreme event, due to the fact that the dried out soil can only absorb so much rainfall over a short period, thereby increasing runoff.
The authors stress actions taken in the near future could reduce the likelihood of such events, things like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building a more robust infrastructure. But, many scientists are already saying extreme weather events are on the rise.
The study concludes it would seem likely if things remain unchanged, we certainly would see a world more prone to floods and other weather disasters.