Flood risk and climate change: Global and regional perspectives

Zbigniew W Kundzewicz, Shinjiro Kanae, Sonia I Seneviratne, John W Handmer, Neville Nicholls, Pascal Peduzzi, Reinhard Mechler, Laurens M Bouwer, Nigel Arnell, Katherine J Mach, Robert Muir-Wood, Robert Brakenridge, Wolfgang Kron, Gerardo Benito, Yasushi Honda, Kiyoshi Takahashi, Boris Sherstyukov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    430 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    A holistic perspective on changing rainfall-driven flood risk is provided for the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Economic losses from floods have greatly increased, principally driven by the expanding exposure of assets at risk. It has not been possible to attribute rain-generated peak streamflow trends to anthropogenic climate change over the past several decades. Projected increases in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall, based on climate models, should contribute to increases in precipitation-generated local flooding (e.g. flash flooding and urban flooding). This article assesses the literature included in the IPCC SREX report and new literature published since, and includes an assessment of changes in flood risk in seven of the regions considered in the recent IPCC SREX report-Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, Oceania and Polar regions. Also considering newer publications, this article is consistent with the recent IPCC SREX assessment finding that the impacts of climate change on flood characteristics are highly sensitive to the detailed nature of those changes and that presently we have only low confidence in numerical projections of changes in flood magnitude or frequency resulting from climate change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1 - 28
    Number of pages28
    JournalHydrological Sciences Journal/Journal des Sciences, Hydrologiques
    Volume59
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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