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    Changing climate both increases and decreases European river floods

    Blöschl, Günter and Hall, Julia and Viglione, Alberto and Perdigão, Rui A. P. and Parajka, Juraj and Merz, Bruno and Lun, David and Arheimer, Berit and Aronica, Giuseppe T. and Bilibashi, Ardian and Bohác, Miloň and Bonacci, Ognjen and Borga, Marco and Čanjevac, Ivan and Castellarin, Attilio and Chirico, Giovanni B. and Claps, Pierluigi and Frolova, Natalia and Ganora, Daniele and Gorbachova, Liudmyla and Gül, Ali and Hannaford, Jamie and Harrigan, Shaun and Kireeva, Maria and Kiss, Andrea and Kjeldsen, Thomas R and Kohnova, Silvia and Koskela, Jarkko J. and Ledvinka, Ondrej and MacDonald, Neil and Mavrova-Guirguinova, Maria and Mediero, Luis and Merz, Ralf and Molnar, Peter and Montanari, Alberto and Murphy, Conor and Osuch, Marzena and Ovcharuk, Valeryia and Radevski, Ivan and Salinas, José L. and Sauquet, Eric and Šraj, Mojca and Szolgay, Jan and Volpi, Elena and Wilson, Donna and Zaimi, Klodian and Živković, Nenad (2019) Changing climate both increases and decreases European river floods. Nature, 573. pp. 108-111. ISSN 1476-4687

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    Climate change has led to concerns about increasing river floods resulting from the greater water-holding capacity of a warmer atmosphere1. These concerns are reinforced by evidence of increasing economic losses associated with flooding in many parts of the world, including Europe2 . Any changes in river floods would have lasting implications for the design of flood protection measures and flood risk zoning. However, existing studies have been unable to identify a consistent continental-scale climatic-change signal in flood discharge observations in Europe3 , because of the limited spatial coverage and number of hydrometric stations. Here we demonstrate clear regional patterns of both increases and decreases in observed river flood discharges in the past five decades in Europe, which are manifestations of a changing climate. Our results—arising from the most complete database of European flooding so far— suggest that: increasing autumn and winter rainfall has resulted in increasing floods in northwestern Europe; decreasing precipitation and increasing evaporation have led to decreasing floods in medium and large catchments in southern Europe; and decreasing snow cover and snowmelt, resulting from warmer temperatures, have led to decreasing floods in eastern Europe. Regional flood discharge trends in Europe range from an increase of about 11 per cent per decade to a decrease of 23 per cent. Notwithstanding the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the observational record, the flood changes identified here are broadly consistent with climate model projections for the next century4,5 , suggesting that climatedriven changes are already happening and supporting calls for the consideration of climate change in flood risk management.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Changing; climate; increases; decreases; European river floods;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > Irish Climate Analysis and Research Units, ICARUS
    Item ID: 13850
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Conor Murphy
    Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 12:35
    Journal or Publication Title: Nature
    Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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