Intensifying storms in Australia to cause "unacceptable" flood risk: study

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-31 10:01:27|Editor: Chengcheng
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CANBERRA, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Short rain storms affecting Australia are intensifying at a rate much higher than expected, a study found.

The research, published by a team from the University of Adelaide and Newcastle University in Britain, revealed that the amount of water falling in the storms was growing at a rate two to three times higher than expected under climate change.

Researchers identified that the trend has been occurring for 50 years after analyzing rainfall extremes from 107 weather stations across the country between 1966-1989 and 1990-2013.

Seth Westra, an associate professor at the University of Adelaide and member of the research team, said the phenomenon could lead to a considerable increase in the number of natural disasters affecting Australia.

"This large increase has implications for the frequency and severity of flash floods, particularly if the rate stays the same into the future," Westra said in a media release on Tuesday.

"It seems counter intuitive when large parts of Australia are now in drought, but we need to remember Australian droughts are often broken by severe floods.

"We have always been a country of weather extremes, and it seems that climate change is causing both the dry and wet extremes to intensify.

"These changes are well above what engineers currently take into account when determining Australia's flood planning levels or designing stormwater management and flood defence infrastructure. If we keep seeing this rate of change, we risk committing future generations to levels of flood risk that are unacceptable by today's standards."

Prior to the study, scientists believed there was a limit to how much additional rain could fall during a global warming event but that limit has now been broken.