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The effect of climate change on urban drainage: an evaluation based on regional climate model simulations

The effect of climate change on urban drainage: an evaluation based on regional climate model simulations

Water Science and Technology 54(6/7): 9-15

ISSN/ISBN: 0273-1223

DOI: 10.2166/wst.2006.592

That we are in a period of extraordinary rates of climate change is today evident. These climate changes are likely to impact local weather conditions with direct impacts on precipitation patterns and urban drainage. In recent years several studies have focused on revealing the nature, extent and consequences of climate change on urban drainage and urban runoff pollution issues.This study uses predictions from a regional climate model to look at the effects of climate change on extreme precipitation events. Results are presented in terms of point rainfall extremes. The analysis involves three steps: Firstly, hourly rainfall intensities from 16 point rain gauges are averaged to create a rain gauge equivalent intensity for a 25 X 25 km square corresponding to one grid cell in the climate model. Secondly, the differences between present and future in the climate model is used to project the hourly extreme statistics of the rain gauge surface into the future. Thirdly, the future extremes of the square surface area are downscaled to give point rainfall extremes of the future.The results and conclusions rely heavily on the regional model's suitability in describing extremes at timescales relevant to urban drainage. However, in spite of these uncertainties, and others raised in the discussion, the tendency is clear: extreme precipitation events effecting urban drainage and causing flooding will become more frequent as a result of climate change.

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