Higher potential compound flood risk in Northern Europe under anthropogenic climate change

  1. Douglas Maraun
  2. Michalis I. Vousdoukas
  3. Evangelos Voukouvalas
  4. Mathieu Vrac
  5. Lorenzo Mentaschi
  6. Martin Widmann

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Description: Compound flooding (CF) is an extreme event taking place in low-lying coastal areas as a result of co-occurring high sea level and large amounts of runoff, caused by precipitation. The impact from the two hazards occurring individually can be significantly lower than the result of their interaction. Both the risk of storm surges and heavy precipitation, as well as their interplay is likely to change in response to anthropogenic global warming. Despite CF relevance, a comprehensive risk assessment beyond individual locations at the country scale is missing. In particular, no studies have examined possible future CF risk. Here we estimate the potential CF risk along the European coasts both for present and future climate according to the business-as-usual (RCP8.5) scenario. Under current climate conditions, the locations experiencing the highest risk are mostly located along the Mediterranean Sea. However, future climate projections show emerging risk along parts of the Atlantic coast and the North Sea. The increase of the risk is mostly driven by an intensification of precipitation extremes. In several European regions, increasing CF risk should be considered as a potential hazard aggravating the risk caused by the mean sea level rise (SLR).

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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