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New study claims we could see 100-year floods yearly by 2050

Published Sep 23rd, 2023 9:01AM EDT
Ob River Flood
Image: Vladimir Melnikov / Adobe

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Climate change is going to change the shape of our world forever. From the possibility of ancient ice shelves melting and causing the sea level to rise to the fact that we’re choking out the atmosphere with greenhouse gasses every year. A new study claims that devastating 100-year floods could start happening yearly as soon as 2050.

The new study suggests that carbon dioxide emissions could reach their peak by 2040. If that happens, the study claims that regions worldwide could begin to experience terrifying and destructive 100-year floors every nine to fifteen years on average. These types of floods are based on historical data and reportedly have a one percent chance of being exceeded in any given year.

Despite their long-winded name, 100-year floods can strike the same area multiple years in a row, the American Geophysical Union (AGU) says. 

climate change, ice shelves melting could lead to 100-year floods
Ice shelves could melt as the global temperature increases, causing increased chances of 100-year floods. Image source: PiLensPhoto / Adobe

“The threshold that we expect to be exceeded once every hundred years on average is going to be exceeded much more frequently in a warmer climate until they are no longer considered 100-year events,” Hamed Moftakhari, a civil engineer and professor at the University of Alabama, explained.

Moftakhari is one of the authors of the new study, which is featured in Earth’s Future. The study discusses the possibility of rising sea levels, which could see coastal communities around the world experiencing deadly and devastating 100-year floods more often. This extreme flooding, the researchers say, can also be caused by water pushed inland by storms.

Most notably, though, the study focuses on how these 100-year floods may be caused by the rising sea levels that we’ve seen over the past few decades. No matter the cause, though, devastating floods are something that we should definitely avoid as much as possible.

The good news is that plenty of people are doing things to try to combat climate change and slow down the massive changes that our world is facing, so it isn’t quite a losing battle just yet.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.