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Are carbon emissions to blame? (Part 1)

With Britain once again battered by storms and flooding, it will surprise few that there has been further research published declaring that carbon emissions are to blame. In the UK, climate change is set to give us a double whammy of opposing issues; firstly increased flooding and secondly, water shortage.  In the first of our blogs we look into the issues of flooding and why carbon emissions are to blame.

 A new study published on 1 February 2016, ‘Human influence on climate change in the 2014 southern England winter floods an their impacts,’ analysed the impact of climate change on the January 2014 floods (which affected 5,000 domestic and commercial properties across the UK). The study asked scientists worldwide to run over 130,000 UK weather simulations, both with and without human influence. They found that the devastating winter storms of 2013/14 were made more likely due to human emissions of carbon dioxide.

This is not new news. Similar research was first mooted in April 2014, giving clear indications that flood risk and climate change went hand in hand. However, the latest study explores the impact of climate change on river flow, rainfall and the amount of properties at risk, giving a more intricate picture of how our climate is changing.

In the simulations showing the effects of human emissions, a warmer climate allowed air to hold more water and increased the number of January days with low pressure systems bringing rain from the Atlantic. In essence it was the right mix for the perfect storm, with results showing that the once-in-100-year storm is now more likely to become a once-in-70-year phenomenon.

The issue isn’t going to go away. Another study; ‘Projections of future flood risk in the UK’ by Sayers and Partners, found that by the 2050s nearly half a million more UK homes are projected to be at a significant risk of flooding. With home and business owners across the country regularly dealing with the effects of flooding, the human cost as well as the financial cost is clear to see. Once again, cutting emissions to cut global warming is a key aspect we can’t ignore.