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Climate change increases likelihood of extreme rainfall: Study


Climate change increases the likelihood of extreme rainfall and thus of flooding events like the one that hit western Germany last month, according to a study published on Tuesday.

Given current climate conditions, it can be expected that a region in western Europe could be hit by such a devastating event about once every 400 years, an international team which included scientists found out.

As mean temperatures continue to rise, extreme rain events become more frequent.

If temperatures were to rise by another 0.8 degreesCelsius, the frequency would increase to every 300 years and the intensity of the heavy rain would also increase.

The scientists looked at a region encompassing France, western Germany, the eastern part of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and northern the North of Switzerland and asked how likely the entire area was to experience extreme heavy rain and to what extent this was influenced by rising temperatures around the world.

The likelihood of such disasters has increased by a factor of between1.2 and 9 compared to the end of the 19th century, and the maximum amount of rain is between 3 and 19 percent greater.

"All available evidence taken together (...) gives high confidence that human-induced climate change has increased the likelihood and intensity of such an event to occur and these changes will continue in a rapidly warming climate," the authors wrote.

The study was carried out as part of the World Weather AttributionInitiative, which investigates the possible effects of climate change on extreme weather events.

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