Quantification of impacts between 1.5°C and 4°C of global warming on flooding risks in six countries

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Abstract

We project climate change induced changes in fluvial flood risks for six global warming levels between 1.5 and 4°C by 2100, focusing on the major river basins of six countries. Daily time series of precipitation, temperature and monthly potential evapotranspiration were generated by combining monthly observations, daily reanalysis data, and projected changes in the five CMIP5 GCMs also selected in the ISI-MIP fast track project. These series were then used to drive the HBV hydrological model and the CaMa-Flood hydrodynamic model to simulate river discharge and flood inundation. Our results indicate that return periods of 1 in 100-year floods in the late 20th century (Q100-20C) are likely to decrease with warming. At 1.5°C warming, 47%, 66%, 27%, 65%, 62% and 92% of the major basin areas in Brazil, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana and India respectively experience a decrease in the return period of Q100-20C, increasing to 54%, 81%, 28%, 82%, 86% and 96% with 4°C warming. The decrease in return periods leads to increased number of people exposed to flood risks, particularly with 4°C warming, where exposure in the major river basin areas in the six countries increase significantly, ranging from a doubling (China) to more than 50-fold (Egypt). Limiting warming to 1.5°C would avoid much of these increased risks, resulting in increases ranging from 12% to 1266% for the 6 countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClimatic Change
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Dec 2021

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