High risk of unprecedented UK rainfall in the current climate

Commenting on the publication today (Monday 24 July) of a paper on ‘High risk of unprecedented UK rainfall in the current climate’ in the journal ‘Nature Communications’, Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “I hope that the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, will carefully read this important Met Office analysis because it highlights the risk of extreme rainfall that could cause flooding. We know that the risk of record rainfall is increasing due to climate change. From 2000 onwards, the UK has experienced 6 of the 7 wettest years since records began in 1910, and its 8 warmest years. The period between January and June 2017 was the third warmest such period on record. As the atmosphere warms, it can hold more water, increasing the risk of heavy rainfall. The UK’s two wettest winters on record occurred in 2013-14 and 2015-16, leading to flooding in many parts of the country, and highlighting to the Government that it had severely underestimated the risks. As a result, the National Flood Resilience Review was launched, but the first report, which was published last September, only considered river flooding and not surface water flooding. However, we know that more homes and businesses are at risk from surface water flooding than from coastal and river flooding. It should be an urgent priority for the Environment Secretary to re-open the National Flood Resilience Review with the aim of improving the UK’s preparedness against surface water flooding caused by heavy rainfall, the risks of which are clearly spelled out in this paper.”

For more information about this media release, please contact Bob Ward on +44 (0) 7811 320346 or r.e.ward@lse.ac.uk.

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment was established in 2008 at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The Institute brings together international expertise on economics, as well as finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy to establish a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research, teaching and training in climate change and the environment. It is funded by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, which also funds the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and Environment at Imperial College London. More information about the Grantham Research Institute can be found at: www.lse.ac.uk/grantham/

 

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