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Global floods and fires link

Global floods and fires link 15 November 2019

Climate change: Warming signal links global floods and fires (via BBC News)

By Matt McGrath

With homes under water in South Yorkshire, near record flooding in Venice, and burgeoning wildfires in Australia, many people are asking if and how climate change is connected to these extreme weather events.

What can we say about the role of climate change in floods like those seen in South Yorkshire?

There are some basic physical factors that help explain the scale of the downpours that recently swamped the village of Fishlake and other locations in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

The very scientific sounding Clausius–Clapeyron equation is one key element.

Clausius and Clapeyron are the surnames of the German and French meteorologists who discovered that a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. For every 1 degree C increase in temperature, the air can hold about 7% extra water vapour.

When you get the sorts of storms that generate rapid cooling, you get heavier rain falling rapidly out of the clouds, as happened in parts of England last week.

Will we see more such flooding in the near future?

UK scientists observe and predict a 10–20% increase in rainfall during the wettest days, so it is very possible that we will see other examples of this type of downpour across this winter.

What about the Australian fires – where’s the climate link?

The latest Lancet report on health and climate change “found that human exposure to fires had doubled since 2000”.

Read the full story here…