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Experts raise concerns as 'never-ending' rain becomes 10 times more likely: 'Flooding has a devastating impact on people's lives'

"Its effects can be felt for months and years afterwards."

"Its effects can be felt for months and years afterwards."

Photo Credit: iStock

Severe storms are producing flooding at a higher frequency and squeezing out more rain.

What's happening?

According to a recent report from the World Weather Attribution group, an overheating planet made storms in the U.K. and Ireland last fall and winter nearly 20% more intense, or about 10 times more likely.

Attribution science tries to understand the link between a warming world and extreme weather.

The storms studied in the report produced the second-highest amount of rainfall on record for the U.K. from October to March and the third-heaviest rainfall for the same period in Ireland. 

Dr. Mark McCarthy, a climate scientist at the U.K. Met Office, said: "The seemingly never-ending rainfall this autumn and winter across the U.K. and Ireland had notable impacts."

The storms killed at least 20 people, caused blackouts, and significantly damaged homes and infrastructure in the regions impacted, as The Guardian reported

The amount of rain that fell with the storms occurred on average only once every 50 years before our world started to overheat. The rise in global temperatures of nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit is expected to increase the frequency of these events to once every five years. 

If the toxic gases warming our world aren't rapidly reduced and the warming of our planet reaches 3.6 degrees, severe storms like these could happen once every three years on average, according to the report.

Why is more frequent flooding in the U.K. and Ireland important?

An increase in the number of flooding events is just one of the byproducts of more heat-trapping gases being released into our atmosphere.

"We know flooding has a devastating impact on people's lives," Dr. Ellie Murtagh, the U.K. climate adaptation lead at the British Red Cross, told The Guardian. "Its effects can be felt for months and years afterwards."

Carbon dioxide, methane, and other heat-trapping gases act like steroids, priming our atmosphere for more frequent and stronger storms. As a result of a warming world, hurricanes become stronger, wildfires more common, and droughts more intense.

Every region in our country is at risk from rising global temperatures, and the dangers from various forms of extreme weather vary by location.

What's being done about the increasing number of severe weather events?

New technology is being employed to reduce the warming linked to more extreme weather. Examples include "heat-reflective" paint that helps cool temperatures by over 10 degrees and solar panels that generate clean power after the sun goes down.

On a personal level, we all have ways to reduce the production of heat-trapping gases. This summer, we can start by changing how we care for our yards. Changing how we buy, cook, and eat our food can also help.

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