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Coastal areas to face greater ‘compound flooding’ threat

Words: Huw Morris
Durdle Door, Dorset

Coastal areas in the UK and Northern Europe will face an increased threat from “compound flooding” as storm surges and heavy rain combine in future decades as a result of climate change.

Devon, Cornwall and the Bristol Channel could become ‘hotspots’ for compound flooding events occurring more than once every six years, according to the study by an international team of researchers in the journal Science Advances.

Computer models which assessed the current climate found around 3 per cent of coastal areas in Europe experience compound flooding events more than once every six years. These are mainly in the Mediterranean, around the Gulf of Valencia in Spain, Algeria, the Gulf of Lyon in France and in southern Turkey.

The sections of coastlines expected to see such events more than once every six years is projected to increase from about 3 per cent  to 11 per cent by the end of the century.

Compound flooding is projected to “robustly increase along the west coast of Great Britain, Northern France, and along the east and south coast of the North Sea”, says the study.

The researchers cited the floods on the Avon in Bristol in 2014 as an example of compound events that threaten to cause significant loss to people and property.

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