“Drought” could be a major weather concern across the West right now amid the continued threat of Forest fires and earthquake. But a new study warns of another crisis lurking in California: “Megafloods.”
Climate change is increasing the risk of future flooding that could engulf many cities and displace millions across California, according to a new study released Friday.
It says a month-long extreme storm could bring footfall — in some places, more than 100 inches — to hundreds of miles of California. Likewise, incessant storms have occurred in the past, before the area became home to tens of millions of people.
Currently, each degree of global warming is dramatically increasing the rate and size of the next supermass, the study says.
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In a future scenario, when floods arrive on a hotter earth, “the chain of storms is larger in every way,” Daniel Swain, UCLA climate scientist and co-author of the study, said in a statement. New information posted. “Overall there is more rain, more hourly rainfall and stronger winds.”
Climate change a factor in megafloods
In fact, research shows that climate change doubles the likelihood of such catastrophic flooding.
Swain says major statewide flooding has occurred every century or two in California over the past millennium, and the current risk of such events has been significantly underestimated.
Long before climate change, California’s Great Flood of 1862 spanned 300 miles and 60 miles across. According to the study, a flood like this one today would displace 5-10 million people, cut off major state highways for weeks or months with major economic impacts, and submerge major cities in the Central Valley as well as areas of Los Angeles.
The study expands on the 2010 “ArchStorm Scenarios”, named after atmospheric rivers that would cause flooding – one of the biblical rates. This is the first part of a plan to return to that scenario, called ArkStorm 2.0.
Massive California flooding would be a $1 trillion disaster
According to UCLA, it is estimated that a flood like the one that occurred in 1862 would be a $1 trillion disaster.
“Parts of cities like Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, and Los Angeles would be under water even with today’s many reservoirs, dikes, and bypasses. It’s estimated that would be a $1 disaster. trillion dollars, greater than any disaster in the history of the world,” according to the statement.
With drought and wildfires getting so much attention, Californians may have lost sight of the severe flooding, Swain said in a statement. “There is a potential for wildfires every year in California, but many years go by with no major flood news. People forget about it,” he said.
The researchers used new high-resolution weather models and existing climate models to compare two extreme scenarios, according to UCLA: one that would occur about once per century in recent historical climate and another scenario in the projected climate in 2081-2100.
Both will involve a series of storms sustained by atmospheric rivers over the course of a month.
What is an atmospheric river?
Atmospheric rivers are bands of water vapor that extend thousands of miles from the tropics to the western United States. With a width of 250 to 375 miles, they fuel heavy rains and blizzards that can cause flooding along the West Coast.
While beneficial to the water supply, such events can wreak havoc on navigation, bring deadly landslides and cause other problems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. catastrophic loss of life and property.
Studies show that climate change will make atmospheric rivers warmer, more intense, and more frequent.
Friday research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.