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The Impact of Flooding Due to Climate Change by City Tech Blogger The Urban Environmentalist

Flooding is an natural catastrophe, occurring when an excess of water submerges normally dry ground. Floods in coastal locations are often produced by heavy rainfall, quick snowmelt, or natural disasters such as an storm surge from tropical cyclones. (Blöschl, et al., 2019). Additionally, floods can be produced by excessive rainfall or snowmelt, when the soil’s infiltration capacity has surpassed rivers. When water discharged exceeds the capacity of water channels from traditional streams and rivers, it can generate coastal flooding (Willner, Otto, & Levermann, 2018).

Flooding is the most common and expensive natural catastrophe throughout the United States (U.S.), with expenses anticipated to increase as the climate crisis worsens. Climate change has raised the risk of flooding in neighborhoods across the U.S. much faster than people realize. In the next few decades, the cost of flood damage is expected to rise 26% due to climate change alone. (Wing, Kousky, Porter, & Bates, 2022) The rising atmospheric temperature will result in increased evaporation of water from the land and seas thus altering the magnitude and frequency of river floods.

Flooding has a severe effect on our environment. Flooding has the potential to hurt people as well as the possibility that electricity supplies may be affected. Floodwaters have the potential to devastate our ecosystem which include animal habitats and plants that may perish as a result of being submerged in water.  Additionally, floodwater is typically tainted with sewage, posing health risks and impairing access to safe drinking water. Polluted floodwater can contaminate rivers and ecosystems which raises health concerns. In terms of peoples’ belongings, possessions are susceptible to being ruined and washed away and residents may be forced to vacate their houses until flood damage is fixed. There are many forms of transport networks such as bridges, railroads, and roads that are damaged by flooding and essential services such as schools and hospitals may have to shut down due to the flooding (Zhang, et al., 2022). High-velocity water flow has the potential to uproot trees and silt and sediment may wreak havoc on agriculture crops. The rivers have been extremely affected due to deposition downstream and even though rivers reach bank capacity, flooding does have an  impacts on our environment. (Ahadzie, Mensah, & Simpeh, 2021)

Natural flood management entails taking steps to slow the flow of water before it reaches large rivers. Small obstacles in drains and crops, or notches carved into embankments, might be used to redirect water to open ground. If you allow pools to grow outside a river’s main channel, it can temporarily isolate the water from the main flow which lessens the force of the floodwaters. Natural flood control is an sustainable technique to flood management and is designed in conjunction with flood barriers including concrete walls. (Attems, Thaler, Genovese, & Fuchs, 2020)

Green infrastructure assists in managing either localized as well as riverine floods by lowering stormwater runoff and safeguarding floodplains. The Green infrastructure method absorbs rainwater in regions prone to localized flooding which prevents water from overflowing pipe networks and accumulating in streets or basements. Rain gardens, wetlands, and permeable pavements are all examples of green infrastructure initiatives that improve infiltration. Sustainable construction, open area preservation, and floodplain control may be used in conjunction with gray infrastructure measures in places plagued by riverside floods. These methods decrease stormwater runoff towards streams and rivers, preserving the natural functioning of floodplains, and minimizing damage to buildings and property. (Gara, Gader, Jendoub, & Bergaoui, 2018)

The flood defense industry has seen an increase in usage of fixed glass barriers in locations where detachable flood defenses cannot be deployed rapidly enough or fail in previous flood fighting experience from geomorphic conditions. The primary benefit of this glazed floodwall is that it provides efficient protection while uninterrupting views of the surrounding countryside. This glazed flood barrier blends aesthetics and functionality. Additionally, it provides a flood protection system that is aesthetically pleasing and strong in performance. (Batubara, Kooy, & Zwarteveen, 2018). In my opinion, people can adopt to floods due to the climate change decreasing the low impact on humans and our environment.

Reference

Ahadzie, D. K., Mensah, H., & Simpeh, E. (2021). Impact of floods, recovery, and repairs of residential structures in Ghana: insights from homeowners. GeoJournal, 1-16.

Attems, M. S., Thaler, T., Genovese, E., & Fuchs, S. (2020). Implementation of property‐level flood risk adaptation (PLFRA) measures: Choices and decisions. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water.

Batubara, B., Kooy, M., & Zwarteveen, M. (2018). Uneven urbanisation: Connecting flows of water to flows of labour and capital through Jakarta’s flood infrastructure. Antipode, 50(5), 1186-1205.

Blöschl, G., Hall, J., Viglione, A., Perdigão, R., Parajka, J., & Merz, B. (2019). Changing climate both increases and decreases European river floods. Nature, 573(7772), 108-111.

Gara, A., Gader, K., Jendoub, D., & Bergaoui, M. (2018). Protection against floods of the urban watersheds of Sidi Thabet in the lower valley of the Medjerda catchment (Tunisia). Journal of mediterranean ecology.

Willner, S. N., Otto, C., & Levermann, A. (2018). Global economic response to river floods. Nature Climate Change, 8(7), 594-98.

Wing, O., Kousky, C., Porter, J., & Bates, P. (2022, February 20). New Maps Show U.S. Flood Damage Rising 26 Percent in Next 30 Years. Retrieved from Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-maps-show-us-flood-damage-rising-26-percent-in-next-30-years/#:~:text=Climate%20change%20is%20raising%20flood,only%20part%20of%20the%20risk.

Zhang, Y., Li, Z., Ge, W., Wang, J., Guo, X., Wang, T., & Li, W. (2022). Assessment of the impact of floods on terrestrial plant biodiversity. Journal of Cleaner Production.

image: https://www.npr.org/2021/08/27/1031193790/western-europe-fatal-floods-climate-change

 

 

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  1. Flooding has indeed increased across the United States within the last decade or so and are potentially going to get worst as the climate crisis prolongs. For example, in New York City, each time there is a little rainfall, flooding occurs. I noticed since the devastation of Super Storm Sandy in 2012, the authorities have been investing in different mitigation strategies for future storms. Most of the recent floods were due to medium to heavy rainfalls as we saw during hurricane Ida, where New York City got 3 to 4 inches of rain within one hour which makes me very concerned whether or not we’re prepared for extended periods of rainfalls as we usually saw in other places.

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