Increased Floods Are A Symptom of Climate Change

Increases in floods (and flood intensities) is symptom of climate change brought on by warming climatological conditions. Floods are a naturally occurring, common weather phenomenon in which water builds up on land that is typically dry or that has a lower average water level. Water inundation can have a combination of diverse causes, factors such as precipitation intensity, geographic topography, proximity to coastal waters and the presence of storms can all play a role in how a flood develops. Floods are a type of severe weather event known to destroy lives and property globally.

dark stream with grass and trees

Humans Are Partially Responsible for the Occurrence of Floods

Human environmental alterations, such as urbanization (which replaces plants and soil with impermeable, nonabsorbent materials like concrete) prevent precipitation water from being stored by vegetation, soil and natural depressions in the surface. Storing water is crucial because it allows water to move slowly underground through soil. Without sufficient storage and flow mechanisms provided by vegetation and soil columns, precipitation water can not be absorbed into plants and soil. Concrete, asphalt, and cement (all common materials for urbanization) do not absorb water well; instead, these materials are conducive to water run-off and flooding.

What Conditions Cause Floods

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report, “Changes in Climate Extremes and their Impacts on the Natural Physical Environment”, floods are affected by sea level, the intensity and duration of precipitation, soil distribution, the presence of vegetation and human infrastructure. Flooding is also enhanced by the presence of wetlands and other watery systems. Wetland ecosystems protect against flooding by temporarily storing and reducing water flow.

As Earth experiences rising average temperatures, enhance rainfall and storms, particularly in tropical regions. As surface water heats up, it releases more warm air that condenses above farming storms. Adding heat to these storms allows storms like hurricanes to be more absorb more energy in the form of heat. Heat is converted into raging winds that can give rai fall frightful force. Typhoons and hurricanes are essentially engines that feed on surface water heat – climate change is supplementing these storms, ultimately causing more flooding manufactured by storms.

The IPCC estimates that “it is very likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme coastal high-water levels in the future”. Rising sea levels are in part the result of increases in heat. Warmer air retains more moisture in the form of water vapor. To boot, warmer conditions may also drive surface evaporation, causing yet more water vapors to rise and condense in the atmosphere. Warmer climates will thereby be conducive to greater instances of rainfall and heavy precipitation events.

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