It’s hard to miss the Extinction Rebellion protests that have been happening in London this week as momentum behind the climate change activist group grows. Whether you agree with the movement or not, there’s no denying that we’re seeing an increase in flooding each year.
Over the last ten years, global floods and extreme rainfall events have increased by more than 50%. They’re occurring at a rate four times higher than in 1980, according to The Easac study, Extreme weather events in Europe: Preparing for climate change adaptation a new report. The report revealed that the increase in flooding could be enhanced by a potential slowdown of the Atlantic Gulf Stream which brings warm water from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean.
They believe the slowdown has been caused by melting ice sheets in Greenland delivering an influx of cooler, freshwater to the Stream.
The paper, based partly on figures compiled by the German insurance company Munich Re, also shows that climate-related loss and damage events have risen by 92% since 2010.
In the UK alone, around 2.4 million people live in immediate flood risk areas. UK inhabitants are more likely to get flooded these days than they are to get burgled.
Between 2008 and 2017, extremely wet days have increased by 17% compared to between 1961 and 1990, according to the New Scientist.
Over the years, humans have turned floodplains and brown belt sites into valuable real estate, laying down tarmac and removing the ground’s ability to easily soak up water.
This challenge is met by an increase in the number of extreme weather events caused by global warming. Increasingly warm weather is generating more rainfall that moves more slowly and depositing an increased level of moisture into rivers, which then burst their banks.
This, compounded with melting glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic, is increasing sea levels, creating long-term flooding risks and exacerbating coastal erosion. The excess rain unable to drain away into the sea, drains away to low-land areas and impacts places like Happisburgh in Norfolk, and Hemsby, which has already lost 18 homes to the sea.
There are already plans to move more communities away from flood prone areas too, such as the 850 residents of Fairbourne in Gwynedd, Wales. Once the residents have been moved, the area will be turned back into a salt marsh to allow nature to soak up some of the excess water we’re seeing.
If you’ve been affected by flooding and you’d like to learn more about how our flood restoration teams can help you to get back on your feet, give us a call on 01624 422 488. With over 60 branches around the UK, it’s likely that we’ll have a branch within just 23 miles of your postcode. Alternatively, you can read more about how Rainbow can help you here, on our blog.