The Guardian newspaper has published a stark warning from the prominent LSE academic, Nicholas Stern, stating that “climate change is here now and it could lead to global conflict”. In light of the extreme weather and flood events across the UK recently, Stern says that: “Four of the five wettest years recorded in the UK have occurred from the year 2000 onwards. Over that same period, we have also had the seven warmest years.”
According to Stern, this is no coincidence. “There is an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, in line with what is expected from fundamental physics… A warmer atmosphere holds more water. Add to this the increase in sea level, particularly along the English Channel, which is making storm surges bigger, and it is clear why the risk of flooding in the UK is rising.”
He goes on to reiterate the need to cut emissions and the urgent requirement for a low carbon industrial revolution, led by the world’s leaders. However, Stern points out that irrevocable changes will need to be prepared for, stating that the “government will also have to ensure the country becomes more resilient to those impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided, including by investing greater sums in flood defences.”
However, if governments are to provide optimum protection to their communities there is a requirement to better understand, and more effectively manage, existing and future flood risks. This can only be achieved through access to accurate flood data and forecasting.
Accurate flood data enables governments to improve decision making and allocate resources more effectively. This, in turn, can help to reduce the immense economic and insured losses resulting from the extreme flood events occurring in the UK over the last 2 months, as well as many other parts of the world.