Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Changing landscapes not global warming to blame for increased flood risk

I'm all for empirical research, although scholarly journals are at-risk for bias in research. I am learning to be skeptical. Recent information on plagiarism, and/or concocted data, by the very people who review journal publications, worries me.

The pharmaceuticals, who block failed research projects, come to mind. If your study fails to prove your hypothesis, why would a journal publish it?

With spring approaching, and a goodly amount of snow to melt, humans continue to build homes in flood plains. The New Orleans disaster, whereby the very poorest of the poor lost their homes, illustrates this issue.

This article (below) worries me, since we know the bias that can be contained in such research. Research can be confounded or hijacked by lobby groups, such as the Tea Party, who continue to battle the concept of Climate Change. One simply does not know which lobby group to believe. Many studies fail to demonstrate reliability, validity, nor choose valid sample populations.

Major flood events occur around the world every year, but with international loss databases
documenting increased incidents of flooding, more material loss and greater fatality rates, are these events on the increase, and are they getting worse?

A new study published in Hydrological Sciences Journal examines the key reasons for increasing frequency and severity of floods; considering whether this is due to improved reporting by the media, an increasing and expanding global population, or whether climate change is the crucial factor.

The authors combine the outcomes of the IPCC Special Report on “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation” (SREX report) with more recent research to give a rounded view of the cost of flooding (both human and material), the causes of increased flood risk and predictions of future global flooding patterns.

Studies have shown that there is a clear link between population density and flooding. Currently 800 million humans are living in areas vulnerable to flooding.  At the same time the report concluded that there was a lack of research identifying, in a persuasive way, an influence of anthropogenic climate change on global river flooding.

The key message of this research is that:
“The scientific community needs to emphasize that the problem of flood losses is mostly about what we do on or to the landscape and that will be the case for decades to come.”
The authors urge governments, scientists, engineers and citizens to use practical precautionary strategies to limit regional flooding sooner rather than later, because conclusive scientific evidence linking greenhouse gas emissions and flooding will be a long time coming.
Read the full article, free of charge, online at:   (Or: PDF)

1 comment:

Red said...

The Calgary flood was very frightening as nothing close to that had ever happened before. Now they are going to try some engineering solutions rather than deal with natural solutions.