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Posts tagged "flooding"

Leadership fail.

E.g., the case for removing old dams to restore ecosystems.

At over 100 sites throughout the Connecticut River basin, the largest river system in New England, we characterized species composition, valley and channel morphology, and hydrologic regime to define conditions promoting distinct floodplain forest assemblages. Species assemblages were dominated by floodplain-associated trees on surfaces experiencing flood durations between 4.5 and 91 days/year, which were generally well below the stage of the two-year recurrence interval flood, a widely-used benchmark for floodplain restoration. These tree species rarely occurred on surfaces that flooded less than 1 day/year. By contrast abundance of most woody invasive species decreased with flooding.
Such flood-prone surfaces were jointly determined by characteristics of the hydrograph (high discharges of long duration) and topography (low gradient and reduced valley constraint), resulting in increased availability of floodplain habitat with increasing watershed area and/or decreasing stream gradient. Downstream mainstem reaches provided the most floodplain habitat, largely associated with low-energy features such as back swamps and point bars, and were dominated by silver maple (Acer saccharinum). However, we were able to identify a number of suitable sites in the upper part of the basin and in large tributaries, often associated with in-channel islands and bars and frequently dominated by sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) and flood disturbance-dependent species.
Our results imply that restoring flows by modifying dam operations to benefit floodplain forests on existing surfaces need not conflict with flood protection in some regional settings.

Pretty cool engineering project in New Orleans. The journalist explains how adding sod to the top of levees will increase the capacity of the berms to retain water. (though, I though levees were generally covered in grass, so it’s a bit confusing.) Anyway, this is a good and simple example of an adaptation.

Three years of repeated floods have inflicted serious damage on Pakistan’s economy, halving its potential economic growth, an expert says.

“The impact of floods on Pakistan’s economy is colossal as the economy grew on average at a rate of 2.9 percent per year during the last three years,” said Ishrat Husain, an economist and director of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi.

That is less than half the 6.5 percent that Pakistan could potentially have managed if it weren’t facing the economic and human losses associated with the flooding, Husain said.

Flooding is hardly the only impediment to economic growth in the troubled South Asian country. Worsening power shortages, “a poor law and order situation and a host of other structural impediments” also are holding back investment and growth, Husain said.

But extreme weather presents an especially worrying economic challenge, he said, because the country can work to reduce its energy crisis and improve law in order, but has limited scope to avert natural calamities, other than trying to devise effective mechanisms to minimise its losses.


Nice white paper from Vermont Transportation. They’re taking a “no-regrets” approach to climate adaptation - very rare in the US.

An overview of climate related adaptation and resilience oriented efforts underway at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans).

In recognition of the potentially negative consequences of climate change to well-being of Vermont, VTrans is in process of incorporating adaptive management, policies, and plans into every level of planning, design, operations, and maintenance.

Experts believe that global climate change will fuel increasingly frequent and severe weather events resulting in more frequent flooding in the Northeastern U.S.

Existing flood vulnerability of the transportation system will be exacerbated by the effects of climate change increasing the risk of costly delays, detours, and premature infrastructure replacement. Recent flooding events following tropical storm Irene revealed the need for preemptive actions and planning to minimize the costs of similar events in the future.

Many of the lessons learned during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene are applicable to this effort. Enhancement of emergency procedures and systems, employee training, public outreach, and rapid hydraulic assessment tools are examples of some of the positive adaptive outcomes. Going forward, the Agency should expand programs and projects focused on gathering and monitoring data, increasing adaptive capacity, and incorporating risk-management into the decision-making process.

The recommendations made in this report have ‘no-regrets’ in that they will increase the effectiveness of long-term decision making under any future climate scenario.

[A] community’s ability to react during a disaster is one thing. Minimizing the impact of a flood is another. Now, the province faces a potentially decade-long cleanup effort that could cost $5 billion by BMO Nesbitt Burns estimates.

Disaster risk management experts say the Alberta situation should serve as a wake-up call to municipalities across the country of the need to spend money and time mitigating the risks before disaster strikes, especially as climate change is predicted to bring bigger and more frequent severe weather events.

"We go from disaster to disaster … being sure that we protect a life so people are protected and then finding the best way how we pay for that," said Slobodan Simonovic, author of Floods in a Changing Climate: Risk Management. “But what we are doing is we are simply reacting to that, paying for that. We are not investing in the reduction or minimization of the future.”

'Tremendous increase'

On average, Canada gets 20 more days of rain now than it did in the 1950s. While flooding – the costliest natural disaster for Canadians – was once mainly a spring event due to the combination of frozen ground and rainfall, it’s now increasingly happening in the summer.

I completely missed the major flood in Calgary last month. City looks totally flooded my muddy river water. I’m not sure what happened at this point, but I suspect flash-storms, a fast river system (boxed in by old-school engineering), and poor drainage systems. I’ll investigate. 


Floodwaters rage through the city of Beichuan, in China’s Sichuan province, on Tuesday, July 9.  Floods caused by the worst rains in decades have left at least 52 people dead in the western part of the country.  (Photos: AFP-Getty via NBC News)

If I read the PR correctly, they’re funding dirt embankments. This will, they claim, protect people from sea level rise and typhoons. Label me skeptical…  

Video and map

Floods in Europe. From In Focus - The Atlantic

The historic flooding throughout central Europe continues, as the Elbe River has broken through several dikes in northern Germany, and the crest of the swollen Danube River has reached southern Hungary, and threatens Serbia.

Parts of Austria and the Czech Republic are now in recovery mode, as thousands of residents return home to recover what they can. Gathered here are images from the past several days of those affected by these continuing floods.

See earlier entry: Flooding Across Central Europe[24 photos]

First photo: A Super Puma [helicopter] of the German Federal Police Bundespolizei carries sandbags to fix a broken dam built to contain the swollen Elbe River during floods near the village of Fischbeck, on June 10, 2013. (Reuters/Tobias Schwarz)

Second photo: Budapest. The flooded River Danube, with a city view of the parliament building in downtown Budapest, on June 10, 2013. The Danube peaked at 891 cm, 31 cm higher than the record levels of 2006. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images) Via

Existing flood walls and barriers are holding up, though.  


South Sudan: Preparing for the Rainy Season

At the Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, where the population has increased five-fold in the past year, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is treating growing numbers of patients and preparing for the additional hardships that will come with the approaching rainy season.


Communities Work to Hold Back Storm-Swollen Waterways

A tiny, flood-prone community breathed easier after shoring up a makeshift levee holding back the rain-swollen Mississippi River. Other Midwest communities scrambled to fend off waterways that threatened to overflow as more storms marched through the region.

Volunteers hustled earlier this week to shore up weak spots in a levee hastily built last week to stop the Mississippi from overrunning the flood-weary hamlet of Clarksville. At times toiling in heavy rain, crews built a second wall of dirt and sandbags behind the original barrier and now calm has been restored. The Mississippi appeared to be receding, ever so slowly, from the community 70 miles north of St. Louis.

Via: laboratoryequipment

Annual spring floods. Short term approaches.


Why you’re paying for everyone’s flood insurance

Two members of the Natural Resources Defense Council explain how the taxpayers, coastal homeowners and climate change are all connected.