|September 24, 2022|
Study: Climate change sets up weather extremes
LOS ANGELES – It’s hard to imagine disastrous flooding in California where most major cities have not received a drop of rain months and drought grips the entire state for the third consecutive year.
A new study by Science Advances shows climate change has already doubled the chances of a disastrous flood happening in California in the next four decades. And experts say it would be unlike anything anyone alive today has ever experienced.
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA and a researcher involved in the study, described to CNN a megaflood as, "a very severe flood event across a broad region that has the potential to bring catastrophic impacts to society in the areas affected." He said a megaflood is similar to the 1,000-year flash flood events in Kentucky, but across a much wider area.
These massive floods, which experts say would turn California's lowlands into a "vast inland sea," might have previously happened once in a lifetime in the state. But experts say climate change is increasing the likelihood of these catastrophic disasters, causing them to occur more like every 25 to 50 years.
The area with the most destruction would be the Central Valley, including Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield, the study's authors project. The Central Valley, roughly the size of Vermont and Massachusetts combined, produces a quarter of the nation's food supply, according to the US Geological Survey.
The study said atmospheric rivers could become consecutive for weeks on end.
Story Date: August 12, 2022