Paris floods linked to climate change


It has been raining a lot lately in large parts of France, to the point that Paris got flooded. Masterpieces in Le Louvre had to be evacuated… But was all this linked to climate change ?

The Guardian and The New York Times published pretty interesting articles revealing that, to climate scientists, the recent floods in Paris were indeed most likely linked to global rising temperatures. Here is an extract from the NYT :

But scientists in Europe have much more rapidly assessed the role of climate change in the European floods, when parts of France got a month’s worth of rain in a few days in late May.

Their conclusion is that climate change made the flooding in France far more likely. But they were unable to draw a conclusion about Germany.

The researchers, from a group called World Weather Attribution that is coordinated by the climate-change research organization Climate Central, used similar approaches to the methods employed by longer peer-reviewed studies. This includes analyzing historical temperatures for the region and running many computer simulations with regional climate models, including some in which it is assumed there is no human-caused climate change.

For an extreme three-day rain event like the one that occurred in France, the scientists’ best estimate was that global warming increased the probability of such a deluge by 80 percent for the Seine River basin (which includes Paris, where the river rose about 20 feet above normal) compared with a world where the climate was not changing.

For the Loire River basin, to the south and west of Paris, the best estimate was a 90 percent greater likelihood. For both regions, the researchers said, they had high confidence that there was at least a 40 percent greater likelihood of a three-day deluge because of climate change.

One might be tempted to say that floods are not that big of a deal. Except they are, as The Carbon Brief shows :

French state forecaster, Météo France, confirmed May 2016 as the rainiest month since 1886, with some regions around Paris receiving up to six weeks’ worth of rain in three days and river levels in areas south of Paris swelling to their highest in 100 years.

(…) Across France as a whole, the floods caused at least four deaths, with thousands of people evacuated and 25,000 left without power. French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and said the government would provide emergency funding to help local authorities deal with flood damage.

The Association Française de l’assurance (AFA) – the principal trade association for French insurance companies – says they expect around 150,000 insurance claims from the flooding, and estimate the damage at as much as €1.4bn.

 

When one sees the toll we have to keep on paying because of climate change’s extreme events such as floods, droughts, wild fires, famines, rising sea levels and so on and so forth, I am surprised we as Mankind keep on failing to take action rapidly. What will it need to change ?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *