Estimating the Impacts of Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions on a Damaging, Weather-Related Event


Interest in attributing the risk of damaging, weather-related events to anthropogenic climate change is increasing. This study, partly funded by DOE, examined flooding in England and Wales in autumn 2000 which damaged nearly 10,000 properties, disrupted services, and caused insured losses estimated at £1.3 billion. The project used publicly volunteered distributed computing to generate several thousand seasonal-forecast-resolution climate model simulations under realistic conditions and under conditions as they might have been had the greenhouse gas emissions and resulting large-scale warming not occurred. Results were fed into a precipitation-runoff model used to simulate severe daily river runoff in England and Wales. While the magnitude of the anthropogenic contribution remains uncertain, in nine out of ten cases the model results indicated that twentieth-century anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions increased the risk of floods in autumn 2000 by more than 20%, and in two out of three cases by more than 90%.


Pall, P., T. Aina, D. A. Stone, P. A. Stott, T. Nozawa, A. G. J. Hilberts, D. Lohmann, and M. R. Allen. 2011. “Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Contribution to Flood Risk in England and Wales in Autumn 2000,” Nature 470, 382-5.