The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)

Flooding more likely from climate change


BERLIN >> Scientists say that global warming makes the kind of extreme rainfall that caused deadly flash flooding in western Europe last month more likely, though it remains unclear exactly how much.

At least 220 people died in Germany and Belgium on July 14-15 when swollen streams turned into raging rivers, sweeping away houses, roads and bridges, and causing billions of dollars in damage.

A study released by the World Weather Attributio­n group used historical records and computer simulation­s to examine how temperatur­es affected rainfall from the late 19th century to the present. While the study hasn’t been assessed by independen­t scientists yet, its authors use widely accepted methods to conduct rapid assessment­s of specific weather events such as floods, droughts and heat waves. It found that across a large strip of western Europe the amount of rainfall in a single day increased by 3% to 19% over the period, during which global temperatur­es increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

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