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Flood and storm events likely to increase due to climate change - 1st September


With a record breaking amount of rain recently fallen in Texas, which is the equivalent of 26 Olympic swimming pools, due to hurricane Harvey, climate change is likely to increase this again in the near future as global emissions are still rising.

The US is not the only place to be hit by torrential rain as recently India and Bangladesh have been flooded, China Yangtze River has overflowed and Sierra Leone has experienced mudslides. Although all of these situations are natural and occur seasonally, scientists warn that these events will become more common and disastrous due to global temperatures rising.

The last few years have resulted in temperatures which have reached new highs, suspected to have not been reached in for more than 100,000 years with the highest level of carbon in the atmosphere in 4 million years.

The recent storms and intense rainfall are expected at this time of year, however not to the same extent, as it is now much more powerful and extreme than historically recorded.

This is as a result of the warmer seas evaporating more easily than they used to, which provides more energy to the storm.The warmer air above will also hold more water vapour providing more rain to fall. A 3% increase in atmospheric moisture content is due to half a degree Celsius in global warming, also known as the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. In the case of hurricane Harvey, the surface temperature in the Gulf of Mexico is more than a degree warmer than it was a few decades ago.

The storm surge was also greater due to an increase of 20cm in sea level rise in the last century where glaciers have melted and expanded the seas.

Meteorologists are expecting further rainfall and heat records will appear across the US in the near future. The impacts are likely to vary from country to country as there are a number of factors involved, however human influence is definitely worsening climate events.

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