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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 22, issue 10 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 22, 5387-5401, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-22-5387-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 19 Oct 2018

Research article | 19 Oct 2018

Future hot-spots for hydro-hazards in Great Britain: a probabilistic assessment

Lila Collet1,a, Shaun Harrigan2,3, Christel Prudhomme2,3,4, Giuseppe Formetta3, and Lindsay Beevers1 Lila Collet et al.
  • 1Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Campus, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK
  • 2European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Shinfield Road, Reading, RG2 9AX, UK
  • 3Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, OX10 8BB, UK
  • 4Loughborough University, Epinal Way, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK
  • anow at: Irstea, 1 rue Pierre Gilles de Gennes, 92 160 Antony, France

Abstract. In an increasing hydro-climatic risk context as a result of climate change, this work aims to identify future hydro-hazard hot-spots as a result of climate change across Great Britain. First, flood and drought hazards were defined and selected in a consistent and parallel approach with a threshold method. Then, a nation-wide systematic and robust statistical framework was developed to quantify changes in frequency, magnitude, and duration, and assess time of year for both droughts and floods, and the uncertainty associated with climate model projections. This approach was applied to a spatially coherent statistical database of daily river flows (Future Flows Hydrology) across Great Britain to assess changes between the baseline (1961–1990) and the 2080s (2069–2098). The results showed that hydro-hazard hot-spots are likely to develop along the western coast of England and Wales and across north-eastern Scotland, mainly during the winter (floods) and autumn (droughts) seasons, with a higher increase in drought hazard in terms of magnitude and duration. These results suggest a need for adapting water management policies in light of climate change impact, not only on the magnitude, but also on the timing of hydro-hazard events, and future policy should account for both extremes together, alongside their potential future evolution.

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Floods and droughts cause significant damages and pose risks to lives worldwide. In a climate change context this work identifies hotspots across Great Britain, i.e. places expected to be impacted by an increase in floods and droughts. By the 2080s the western coast of England and Wales and northeastern Scotland would experience more floods in winter and droughts in autumn, with a higher increase in drought hazard, showing a need to adapt water management policies in light of climate change.
Floods and droughts cause significant damages and pose risks to lives worldwide. In a climate...
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