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The Impact of Climate Change on Floods by City Tech Blogger Brayan Fernandez

There are various processes that earth goes through when it comes to weather and natural changes, the magnitude in which these manifestations occur are directly related to climate change. In this piece I want to elaborate on how climate change contributes in one way or another to flooding and their intensity.

Climate change has been responsible for how certain natural disasters behave. For the most part we know that the most common way in which floods occur is due to rain, this means that by having long periods of heavy rain certain areas may begin to flood. Since these type of areas usually don’t have a way for the water to escape, it’s even easier for water to accumulate and ruin people’s property. However, what does heavy rain have to do with climate change? The fact of the matter is that climate change reinforces rainfall. Global warming increases the frequency in which it rains in many areas of the world bringing the consequences of water accumulation and leaving behind a string of destruction.  Although we might think that only climate change is responsible for how floods occur that is not entirely the case. We are responsible for increasing the magnitude of this natural event considering our destruction of protective systems provided by nature and the construction of architectural structures in areas with a high risk of flooding. On the other hand, sea level rise also puts people who live close to the coast in danger and is a threat not only to material property but to human life as well.

Overall, these are some ways in which climate change contributes to the behavior of floods and also the part humans play in creating these type of natural disasters and the creating the state for them to happen.

 

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  1. According to the national climate assessment a flood is defined as any high flow, overflow, or inundation by water that causes or threatens damage. Floods can be caused either by an excess of rainfall leading to greater surface runoff or by storm surges raising the sea level. Because warmer air due to climate change can hold more water, climate change has the potential for stronger rainfall events. What this means for the risk of flooding, however, will vary widely from location to location depending on local climatic changes that, at present, are difficult to predict with confidence.
    There are four major types of flooding: flash flooding, urban flooding, river flooding and coastal flooding, of which all are affected by climate change — the most concerning type of flooding is coastal flooding. Coastal flooding is predominantly caused by storm surges that accompany hurricanes and other storms that push large seawater domes toward the shore. Storm surge can cause deaths, widespread infrastructure damage, and severe beach erosion. Storm-related rainfall can also cause inland flooding and is responsible for more than half of the deaths associated with tropical storms. Climate change affects coastal flooding through sea level rise and storm surge, and increases in heavy rainfall during storms.

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