Climate flooding risk could be higher
Climate change may carry a higher risk of flooding than was previously thought, the journal Nature reports.
Researchers say efforts to calculate flooding risk from climate change do not take into account the effect carbon dioxide (CO2) has on vegetation. Higher atmospheric levels of this greenhouse gas reduce the ability of plants to suck water out of the ground and “breathe” out the excess. Plants expel excess water through tiny pores, or stomata, in their leaves. Their reduced ability to release water back into the atmosphere will result in the ground becoming saturated. Areas with higher predicted rainfall have a greater risk of flooding. But this effect also reduces the severity of droughts.
The findings suggest computer models of future climate change may need to be revised in order to plan for coming decades.