UK & World News

  • 2 June 2014, 13:01

UK 'Summers Of Rain': Climate Change Warning

Global warming could lead to more extreme bursts of summer downpours and increase the risk of flash flooding in Britain, experts have warned.

A study by the Met Office and Newcastle University has examined how climate change could result in heavier summer rainfall.

Published in the Nature and Climate Change journal, the report said: "Short duration rain events are predicted to intensify during the summer months in the southern United Kingdom.

"This predicted increase means more events would exceed the Met Office and Environment Agency Flood Forecasting Centre guidance threshold for serious flash flooding."

The landmark study highlights how short bursts of heavy rainfall triggered devastating flooding in the north Cornwall town of Boscastle in 2004.

Around 100 people were airlifted to safety, 58 properties were flooded and four businesses were demolished.

In the aftermath the Environment Agency created an £800,000 flood defence scheme and North Cornwall District Council gave the go-ahead for a £4.5m flood defence project for the village.

Researchers say the report is significant because previous climate models have not been able to work out the effect on extreme hourly rainfall in the warmer months.

To improve the resolution of their model, researchers in this latest experiment used smaller grid spacings than normal, providing it with more detailed research.

The report adds that previous interpretations of future regional climate change scenarios should be revisited, as changes in these types of rain events could have been underestimated.

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