Art and design

Books

Culture

Environment

Fashion

Film

Life and style

Money

Music

Politics

Science

Technology

Travel

Television

US news

World news

Weatherwatch: Extreme flooding on rise in Europe over past 20 years

Aftermath of flooding inside the Glenridding Hotel caused by Storm Desmond in December 2015.
Aftermath of flooding inside the Glenridding Hotel caused by Storm Desmond in December 2015. Photograph: McCaren/LNP/REX/Shutterstock

For the inhabitants of the Cumbrian village of Glenridding, the winter of 2015/16 was a miserable one. Storm Desmond brought the first deluge in December, turning the river into a raging torrent, sweeping through many properties, and cutting the village off from the outside world for a full two days. Storm Eva barrelled in a few weeks later, and Glenridding ended up awash three times in the space of four weeks.

So what is going on? Are extreme climate events becoming more frequent, or were the residents of Glenridding suffering a series of unlucky rolls of the dice?

To answer this question, Wouter Berghuijs, from ETH Zurich, and colleagues have been analysing streamflow statistics from all over the world, and totting up the number of extreme events in each catchment.

They have found that European rivers have experienced a 44% increase in extreme floods since 1995, suggesting that global warming has played a role.

Writing in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the scientists conclude that flood history is not a reliable predictor for future flood risk, and climate change needs to be taken into account too.

This article titled "Weatherwatch: Extreme flooding on rise in Europe over past 20 years" was written by Kate Ravilious, for The Guardian on Monday 12 February 2018 09.30pm

Science

Arrival of Beaker folk changed Britain for ever, ancient DNA study shows

The largest ever study on ancient DNA has shown that Britain was changed forever by the arrival of… Read more

Neanderthals – not modern humans – were first artists on Earth, experts claim

More than 65,000 years ago, a Neanderthal reached out and made strokes in red ochre on the wall of… Read more

Tasmanian tiger joey 3D scans may unlock evolutionary mystery

Joeys of thylacines, or Tasmanian tigers, look much like the young of every other marsupial: bald,… Read more

Conservators race against time to save film cels of classic Disney characters

Hands clasped, silver slippers together and with an air of gentle condescension, Snow White looks… Read more

Want to know about T rex? Chase an ibis around a track, scientists say

The Australian white ibis, aka “bin chicken”, might not have won the title of Australia’s favourite… Read more

The new specimen forcing a radical rethink of Archaeopteryx

Have you heard? There is a new Archaeopteryx in town. Number 12, to be exact. Technically, this… Read more

The drugs do work: antidepressants are effective, study shows

Antidepressants work – some more effectively than others – in treating depression, according to… Read more

How much mass does the W boson have?

Whenever I describe the fundamental forces to an audience that does not entirely consist of other… Read more

Spacewatch: Nasa planet hunter will target the rock zone

Nasa’s next planet hunting mission has arrived at the Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida, for final… Read more

Scientists make cells glow so brightly they can be seen outside the body

Scientists have stolen a trick from fireflies and jellyfish to make animals with cells that glow so… Read more