Monday, February 9, 2015

Midwest Floods Becoming More Frequent

I have noticed over recent years how often a storm is described as being a "100-year" or "500-year" or even a "1000-year" event. If something is supposed to happen only once in centuries, how come we're getting them every few years. For instance, there have been record floods in the Midwest U.S. in 1993, 2008, 2011, 2013 and again in 2014. Maybe we need to redefine what it means to be a 100-year flood.

Or, maybe the definition of a 100-year flood isn't wrong at all - at least under previous conditions. Maybe the problem is the conditions have changed.

Researchers at the University of Iowa used river gauge data from the U.S. Geological Survey to determine the flood rate in the Midwest U.S. to examine that very question. What they found is that 34% of the stations they examined recorded an increased amount of flooding, while only 9% recorded a decrease.

The researchers just reported the findings without attempting to link them to climate change. However, these findings are exactly what we would expect, and have been predicted, as a result of climate change. As the air gets warmer it can hold more moisture. Then, when it gives it up, this will result in more severe precipitation events - flooding.

By the way, the economic cost of these floods runs into the billions of dollars. For those claiming climate change is good for us, would you mind explaining this, please?

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