Study: Warming puts millions more at risk from river floods

FILE - In this Jan. 8, 2018 file photo taken with a drone shows the flooded village of Rees at river Rhine, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. Scientists say millions more people around the world are threatened by river floods in coming decades due to climate change. Researchers in Germany say greater flood defenses are particularly needed in the United States, parts of India and Africa, Indonesia and Central Europe. (Arnulf Stoffel/dpa via AP)

BERLIN — Global warming will increase the risk of river flooding over the coming decades, endangering millions more people around the world, according to a study published Thursday.

Using computer simulations, researchers in Germany examined the impact of changing rainfall patterns by region and found that flood defenses will need to be improved particularly in the United States, parts of India and Africa, Indonesia and Central Europe.

River floods are already one of the most widespread and damaging forms of natural disasters worldwide. Additional protective measures include enhancing dykes, better river management, improving building standards and even moving settlements, according to the study published in the journal Science Advances.

The number of people affected by the worst 10 percent of river flooding will double from 76 million to 156 million in Asia alone by 2040, said the authors at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. In North America the number of people at risk could increase tenfold, from 100,000 to a million.

"The real numbers might be even higher in the future as population growth and further urbanization is not taken into account," they said.

Researchers said even in developed countries with good infrastructure the need for adaptation is big. They also warned that the risk of rivers flooding will rise regardless of current efforts to curb climate change because of greenhouse gases already emitted in past decades.

Still, a failure to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) may result in changes to river flooding patterns that populations can't adapt to, the authors said.

"The time has come where mitigating future climate change must be accompanied by adapting to the climate change that we already caused," said Anders Levermann, one of the study's authors.

You may also interested in

Internet mogul gets year in jail in domestic violence case

Aug 12, 2016

A Silicon Valley internet mogul who made $300 million at the age of 25 has been sentenced to a year in jail for violating his probation in a domestic violence case

US agency studies how to detect algae bloom outbreaks

Aug 13, 2016

U.S. Geological Survey scientists spent this week studying how nutrient levels contribute to algae bloom outbreaks at two major Utah lakes

IOC fights cyberattacks during Olympics

Aug 13, 2016

The International Olympic Committee is fending off massive cyberattacks during the Rio de Janeiro Olympics

People also read these

Junk food fight: Science tests how birds compete for Cheetos

Aug 12, 2016

It's the early bird that gets the Cheetos but it's the bigger bird that steals it away, scientists find in snack food experiement.

Webcam whale research buoyed by viewers around the world

Aug 15, 2016

Canadian researchers are turning to internet to learn about the social behavior thousands of beluga whales that migrate to Hudson Bay every year

Tesla: Removal of 'Autopilot' from Chinese site a mistake

Aug 15, 2016

Tesla says the term "Autopilot" was mistakenly removed from the electric car maker's website for China, but it was restored Monday

Weather, 20 December
Houston Weather
+7

High: +11° Low: -2°

Humidity: 83%

Wind: NNE - 7 KPH

Canberra Weather
+27

High: +27° Low: +17°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: W - 20 KPH

Roissy-en-France Weather
+6

High: +6° Low: -5°

Humidity: 87%

Wind: ENE - 7 KPH

Florence Weather
+9

High: +9° Low: +6°

Humidity: 97%

Wind: ENE - 17 KPH

Parga Weather
+7

High: +16° Low: +4°

Humidity: 100%

Wind: SE - 25 KPH