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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-274
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Jun 2018

Research article | 04 Jun 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

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

Lila Collet1, 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

Abstract. Hydrological extremes, floods and droughts, cause significant economic damages and pose risks to lives worldwide. In an increasing hydro-climatic risk context as a result of climate change, this work identifies future hot-spots across Great Britain expected to be impacted by an increase in both floods and droughts. 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 west coast of England and Wales and across northeast 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. This novel, consistent, method is transferable to new hydro-climatic projection databases.

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Short summary
Floods and droughts cause significant damages and pose risks to lives worldwide. In a climate change context this work identifies hot-spots across Great Britain, i.e. places expected to be impacted by an increase in both floods and droughts. By the 2080s the west coast of England and Wales and northeast Scotland would experience more floods in winter and droughts in autumn, with a higher increase in drought hazard, showing a need for adapting 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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