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Heavy rain storms, like those in Wallonia, are 14 times more frequent in Europe: 'the wake-up call we need'

Heavy rain storms, like those in Wallonia, are 14 times more frequent in Europe: ‘the wake-up call we need’

Scientists from Newcastle University and the British Met Office came to this conclusion based on detailed climate models. They found that slower-moving storms increase local precipitation, which greatly increases flash flood risks.

The study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, constitutes the second link between climate change and heavy precipitation. It was previously known that the atmosphere at higher temperatures could store more water vapor and thus cause more rain. It now appears that slow-moving storms will increase in frequency 14 times by the year 2100. For example, heavy rain can ravage the same area for much longer.

wake cry

The study authors explicitly refer to the catastrophic rainfall in Belgium and Germany when the report was published. “This study shows that in addition to precipitation intensification, we can also expect a significant increase in slow-moving storms that have the potential for high concentrations of precipitation,” said Professor Lizzie Kendon of the Bureau of Meteorology. “This is closely related to the recent floods in Germany and Belgium, which highlight the devastating effects of such slow-moving storms.”

Her colleague Hayley Fowler is associated with greenhouse gas emissions. “This, in addition to the current floods in Europe, is the alarm bell we need to develop improved warning and management systems,” he says. “And to take climate change into account more in infrastructure designs, so as to make them more robust in the face of such extreme weather conditions.”

For the forecast, the researchers hypothesize a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions remain high. “The 14-fold frequency of storms by the end of this century is an example of the extreme impact we could feel if we didn’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Fowler said.

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