Frances Davenport: Climate change is making flooding worse
Postdoctoral researcher Frances Davenport wrote this piece for The Conversation. Colorado State University is a contributing institution to The Conversation, an independent collaboration between editors and academics that provides informed news analysis and commentary to the general public.
Heavy rain combined with melting snow can be a destructive combination.
In mid-June 2022, storms dumped up to 5 inches of rain over three days in the mountains in and around Yellowstone National Park, rapidly melting snowpack. As the rain and meltwater poured into creeks and then rivers, it became a flood that damaged roads, cabins and utilities and forced more than 10,000 people to evacuate.
The Yellowstone River shattered its previous record and reached its highest water levels recorded since monitoring began almost 100 years ago.
Although floods are a natural occurrence, human-caused climate change is making severe flooding events like this more common. I study how climate change affects hydrology and flooding. In mountainous regions, three effects of climate change in particular are creating higher flood risks: more intense precipitation, shifting snow and rain patterns, and the effects of wildfires on the landscape.
Read the full article, “Climate change is making flooding worse: 3 reasons the world is seeing more record-breaking deluges.”
Image at top: Fast-moving floodwater obliterated sections of major roads through Yellowstone National Park in June 2022. Jacob W. Frank/National Park Service