What Caused Flooding in Europe?

What Caused Flooding in Europe?

European Flooding- An Era of Climate Change 

“The storm that wreaked havoc on parts of Europe, causing flooding and damage, is the most recent example of a catastrophic weather event.”

Houses, stores, and streets in lovely cities and villages along the ‘Ahr and other rivers’ have been ruthlessly wiped away by fast-moving floodwaters, according to images from Germany.

The flooding was triggered by a storm that slowed to a crawl across portions of Europe on Wednesday, dumping up to six inches of rain on the region around Cologne and Bonn before finally passing on Friday. Flooding also befell in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, but the biggest effects were seen in Germany, where the official death toll reached 125 on Friday and was expected to rise.

The storm was a terrifying example of extreme weather, with some areas receiving a month’s worth of rain in a single day. Extreme weather events are becoming more communal as a consequence of climate change.

What Caused Flooding
What Caused Flooding

How much did climate change influence this particular storm and What Caused Flooding? 

A thorough answer will have to wait for analyses, which are virtually certain to be conducted given the enormity of the calamity, to discover if climate change increased the likelihood of this storm, and if so, by how much?

But for many scientists the trend is clear.

“Yes, climate change is upsetting all major meteorological conditions these days,” said Donald J. Wuebbles, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois. Studies have already indicated that as the world warms, the frequency of heavy downpours will increase, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an UN-backed agency that reports on the science and implications of global warming. According to Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, “the observed rise is stronger than we expected” in studies of intense rain occurrences in the Netherlands.

Dr. van Oldenborgh is a member of the World Weather Attribution, a loose-knit network that promptly assesses specific extreme weather events for any climate-change implications. He said the committee was debating whether to research the German floods after just finishing a short review of the heatwave that hit the Pacific Northwest in late June.

One reason for heavier downpours is simple physics: warmer air stores more moisture, making a single storm more likely to deliver more precipitation. Since the 19th century, when countries began pouring massive volumes of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the planet has warmed by a little more than 1 degree Celsius (approximately 2 degrees Fahrenheit). Air can store 7% extra moisture for every 1°C increase in temperature. “These kinds of storm events will rise in intensity,” said Hayley Fowler, a professor of climate change impacts at Newcastle University in England.

Some studies imply rapid warming in the Arctic is altering the jet stream by lessening the temperature difference between the northern and southern sections of the Northern Hemisphere, even though this is still a point of contention. The high-altitude, globe-circling air circulation weakens and slows down throughout the summer and fall. Dr. Fowler explained that this means storms will have to move more slowly. She pointed out that the storm that produced the current flooding was nearly stationary. More moisture combined with a stalled storm system can result in extra-heavy rains over a specific area.

Kai Kornhuber, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, his and his colleagues’ studies, as well as articles from other experts, came to similar conclusions concerning slowing weather systems. “They all point in the same direction — that the summertime mid-latitude circulation, the jet stream, is slowing down and becoming a more persistent weather pattern,” which means extreme weather events such as heatwaves and torrential rains are likely to continue.

A separate midsummer jet stream phenomenon is known as “wave resonance” has been examined by Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, in terms of locking weather systems in place. Climate warming, he claims, is increasing the frequency of halting weather events. However, he believes it is premature to conclude that wave resonance is to blame for the European calamity. While there are many explanations for stalled weather systems, according to Jennifer Francis of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts, they don’t happen in a vacuum.

She described the European storm as “part of a larger picture of extremes we’ve been witnessing all around the Northern Hemisphere this summer,” including heat in the American West and Pacific Northwest, strong rainfall, and colder temperatures in the Midwest, and heatwaves in Scandinavia and Siberia.

“When it comes to a strange configuration of the jet stream, it never happens in isolation, an extreme of one type is always followed by extremes of other types in the same place.”

She went on to say, “It’s all connected, and it’s all the same tale, really.”

However, other elements can come into play when it comes to floods, complicating any examination of climate change’s impact. For one thing, local topography must be considered, as it can influence rainfall patterns and the amount of runoff that reaches which rivers. Human influences can further complicate analysis. Near rivers, for example, buildings, streets, and parking lots frequently replace open space, which can absorb rain, increasing the amount of water that drains into rivers. Infrastructure designed to deal with excessive runoff and rising rivers could be under-planned and insufficient, and different judgments can be reached depending on the weather.

Climate change influenced the French floods, which were caused by three days of rain, according to a 2016 analysis by World Weather Attribution on flooding in France and Germany in May of that year. The scenario in Germany, on the other hand, was different; the flooding was triggered by a single day of rain. The risk of shorter storms in that area has not increased as a result of climate change, according to computer simulations. While certain developments may exacerbate floods, others may help to alleviate them. This looks to be the case in the Netherlands, which was spared the worst of the storm.

The Dutch government started a program called Room for the River to prevent flooding after three large floods on the Meuse River in the 1990s, Nathalie Asselman stated that she advises the government and other customers on flood risk. Decreasing and broadening river beds, lowering flood plains, and excavating side channels were all part of the project. She explained, “The goal of these efforts is to reduce flood levels.” The efforts appear to have worked, even though a dike along the Meuse in the southern Netherlands had a breach that caused minor flooding until it was repaired on Friday. According to Ms. Asselman, flood levels on the Meuse were about a foot lower than they would have been otherwise. Smaller tributaries backed up less when they reached the Meuse as a result, resulting in less flooding.“ If we hadn’t taken these steps, the situation would have gotten much worse,” she said. “Both on the main river and its tributaries.”

3 thoughts on “What Caused Flooding in Europe?”

  1. بہت اچھا اور معلوماتی آرٹیکل ہے….. اللہ کریم مزید خیر و برکت عطا فرمائیں آمین ثم آمین

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