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Posted Mon Feb 13 2012: from PhysOrg:
With climate change, today's '100-year floods' may happen every 3 to 20 years: research
Last August, Hurricane Irene spun through the Caribbean and parts of the eastern United States, leaving widespread wreckage in its wake. The Category 3 storm whipped up water levels, generating storm surges that swept over seawalls and flooded seaside and inland communities. Many hurricane analysts suggested, based on the wide extent of flooding, that Irene was a "100-year event": a storm that only comes around once in a century. However, researchers from MIT and Princeton University have found that with climate change, such storms could make landfall far more frequently, causing powerful, devastating storm surges every three to 20 years. The group simulated tens of thousands of storms under different climate conditions, finding that today's "500-year floods" could, with climate change, occur once every 25 to 240 years. The researchers published their results in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.... But with added greenhouse gas emissions, the models found that a two-meter surge flood would instead occur once every three to 20 years; a three-meter flood would occur every 25 to 240 years.
[Read more stories about: weather extremes, climate impacts]
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