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Winter floods in Britain are connected to atmospheric rivers

Lavers, D., Allan, R., Wood, E. F., Villarini, G., Brayshaw, D. and Wade, A. (2011) Winter floods in Britain are connected to atmospheric rivers. Geophysical Research Letters, 38 (23). L23803. ISSN 0094-8276

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/2011GL049783

Abstract/Summary

Damage from flooding in the winter and fall seasons has been widespread in the United Kingdom (UK) and Western Europe over recent decades. Here we show that winter flood events in the UK are connected to Atmospheric Rivers (ARs), narrow ribbons along which a large flux of moisture is transported from the subtropics to the mid-latitudes. Combining river flow records with rainfall measurements, satellite data and model simulations, we demonstrate that ARs occur simultaneously with the 10 largest winter flood events since 1970 in a range of British river basins, suggesting that ARs are persistently critical in explaining extreme winter flooding in the UK. Understanding the physical processes that determine the persistence of AR events will be of importance in assessing the risk of future flooding over north-western Europe and other mid-latitude regions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Walker Institute for Climate System Research
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Earth Systems Science
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
ID Code:24419
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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