Climate change is responsible for flood damage totalling $75bn in the USA over the last 30 years, a hard-hitting report has revealed.
Researchers at Stanford University in California have discovered this amounts to a third of all the damage caused by flooding in the country between 1988 and 2017.
Flooding has been described as “the number one natural peril in the US” by global insurance company Munich RE, but up to now it has been notoriously hard to work out how just much flooding is caused by climate change and then put that into dollars in terms of the damage.
The Stanford team has come up with a new research model to work this out and revealed the results in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Previous research has looked at rain and flooding on a national basis whereas the Stanford study has looked at the evidence state by state – including rain and flooding in the more distant past - while also considering the other socio-economic factors that could have caused the flood damage such as more people living in areas vulnerable to flooding and more homes being built there.
Especially worrying is their warning that as the US is now exceeding levels of global warming agreed in the United Nations Paris Agreement this will lead to the kind of extreme rain that has proved to both devastating and costly in recent years. The problem caused by climate change is not the amount of rain that falls, more its intensity which manifests itself as flash flooding.
Senior author and climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh said: “The framework that we developed provides an objective basis for estimating what it will cost to adapt to continued climate change and the economic value of avoiding higher levels of global warming in the future.”
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FloodSax resemble large pillowcases until they come into contact with water and when they do, they absorb the water to inflate to weigh 20kg (44lbs) which makes them more effective than traditional sandbags at keeping floodwater out. It means 20 fit into a cardboard box which is easy to store and for one person to carry.
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To read more about the new climate change model devised by the Stanford researchers please go to https://news.stanford.edu/2021/01/11/climate-change-caused-one-third-historical-flood-damages/