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Impact of Floods Due to Climate Change by City Tech Blogger Hong Zhu


Flooding is a phenomenon where a build-up of excessive water overwhelms the area’s capability to drain. Floods can be categorized into  four types: flash flood, coastal flood, urban flood, fluvial flood, and pluvial flood. Flash flooding is the flooding caused by a sudden and rapid inflow of water overwhelming the area’s drainage capability. Coastal flooding is when the seawater submerges the local area, it can occur when the sea level rises due to a severe storm or tide change. Urban flooding is the flooding where city drains are unable to fully accommodate the stormwater and begins to overflow into the streets. And finally, fluvial flooding is the flooding where heavy rainfall causes a body of water  to rise and overflow temporarily. With a better understanding of what floods are, how exactly is this related to climate change?

Climate change has multiple effects throughout the globe; a few examples would be tropical storms becoming more common and severe due to the increase in surface temperature or the increase in precipitation due to increased evaporation activity with warmer waters (EPA 2021). Both examples are potential reasons as to how flooding will be significantly impacted  due to climate change. Flooding usually occurs due to heavy downpours or a storm surge. Storm surge is the temporary rise in sea level during a severe tropical storm like hurricanes. One of the effects of climate change is the warming of the ocean waters, this as a result creates a favorable environment increasing the likelihood of tropical storms to form and boosting their intensity. With tropical storms becoming bigger and more apparent, storm surges will also become more severe and common along with it.

In addition to warmer surface temperatures causing more storms, the warmer waters will also promote  an increase in evaporation activity. As surface temperature increases, the warm waters will begin to transition into their respective gaseous form more quickly. The accumulation of water vapor in the sky will continue to grow much more rapidly before they start condensing into water droplets and falls as rain (National Geographic 2019). As such, the further increase in surface temperature will also increase both the occurrence and intensity of rain (ClimateCentral 2019). Ultimately, the increase in precipitation will also directly increase the amount of flooding throughout the world.

Knowing that flooding will become much worse, what can humans do about it? There are many methods humans can adapt to flooding. Some of the possibilities may include the implementation of larger storm drains, constructing buildings at higher elevations or on a slope, or raising buildings above the ground. After Hurricane Sandy, New York City started developing countermeasures to help combat the intense flooding they experienced. Sixty-nine thousand residential units were ruined from the record high 13-feet tall flood (Spectrum News 2021). Learning from that experience, New York City is constructing new buildings and infrastructure higher to help alleviate flooding damage (Forbes 2021). Throughout the coastline of New York City, homes are being rebuilt on elevated structures or building well above the floodplains. This will help homeowners flood-proof their homes for shallow flooding while minimizing the damage for the occasional severe flooding. In addition, in some parts of the city, the streets and roads are being elevated well above the floodplain (Forbes 2021). This will enable the community to resume their day-to-day lives immediately after a severe tropical storm by greatly lessening flooding damage and impact. As such, cities like New York City are implementing countermeasures to help combat extreme flooding by elevating homes, streets, and roads several feet above the floodplain.


Work Cited Page

Bisnow. “Five Years After Hurricane Sandy, New York City Has Mostly Small Fixes To Show.” Forbes, 31 Oct. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/2017/10/31/five-years-after-sandy-nyc-has-mostly-small-fixes-to-show-since-storm/?sh=3cde5b7b7d78.

“Climate Change Indicators: Heavy Precipitation.” US EPA, 21 July 2021, www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-heavy-precipitation#:%7E:text=Climate%20change%20can%20affect%20the,heavier%20rain%20and%20snow%20storms.

National Geographic Society. “Precipitation.” National Geographic Society, 8 Aug. 2019, www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/precipitation.

“POURING IT ON: How Climate Change Intensifies Heavy Rain Events.” Climate Central, 15 May 2019, www.climatecentral.org/news/report-pouring-it-on-climate-change-intensifies-heavy-rain-events.

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