Ground-breaking methods of measuring flooding trends have been developed following a project by researchers at the University.
The study, which was led by Dr Louise Slater alongside Dr Michael Singer from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, investigated stream flow and channel capacity of rivers in various parts of the USA.
The research, published by Geophysical Research Letters, is considered important because of its potential logistical application. It quantifies flood frequency, so can be used to contribute to flood management systems and can help insurance cost estimates to be more accurate.
Explaining her methodology, Dr Slater said: “We now know that trends in flood hazard are not just about hydrology. Compared to previous studies, we took a new approach and examined 401 rivers throughout the USA to compare the contributions of channel capacity and flow frequency to historical flood hazard and analyse their interactions.”
Dr Singer added: “Flooding is a major hazard to lives, infrastructure and economic prosperity, but trends in flood hazard are currently poorly understood. By developing new methods to assess flood frequency, we have demonstrated that accurately quantifying changes requires the separate accounting of both stream flow and channel capacity.”