Floods are symptom of climate change; brought on by a warming atmosphere. Floods are a naturally occurring, common weather phenomenon in which water builds up on land that is typically dry or that has a lower average water level. Water inundation can have a combination of diverse causes, factors such as precipitation intensity, geographic topography, proximity to coastal waters and the presence of storms can all play a role in how a flood develops. Globally, floods are a predominant source of property damage caused by severe weather; what’s worse, floods are known to cost lives as well.

Humans Are Partially Responsible for the Occurrence of Floods

Human environmental impact, such as urbanization (which replaces plants and soil with impermeable, nonabsorbent materials like concrete) prevent precipitation water from being stored by vegetation, soil and natural depressions in the surface. Storing water is crucial because it allows water to move slowly underground through soil. Without sufficient storage and flow mechanisms provided by vegetation and soil columns, precipitation water can not be absorbed into plants and soil. Concrete, asphalt, and cement (all common materials for urbanization) do not absorb water well; instead, these materials are conducive to water run-off and flooding.

Changes In Climate Could Supplement the Conditions Necessary for Flooding

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report, “Changes in Climate Extremes and their Impacts on the Natural Physical Environment”, floods are affected by sea level, the intensity and duration of precipitation, soil distribution, the presence of vegetation and human infrastructure. The list of conditions which underlies floods are much more extensive in reality; however, conditions which involve human activity are of immediate concern and ought to be mitigated. The IPCC reasons that increases in heavy rainfall will only boost the frequency of floods in some catchment areas.

dark stream with grass and trees

The IPCC estimates that “it is very likely that mean sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme coastal high-water levels in the future”. Rising sea levels, lack of forests and vegetation and increased precipitation constitute a near-perfect recipe for increases in flooding disasters. Water vapor and increased amounts of greenhouse gases are will only serve to worsen the frequency and intensity of floods. Though, the evidence has been well established, greenhouse gases continue to be an integral part of developed nation’s energy sectors.

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