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Greenhouse gases link to flood risk

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Flood risk in the UK has risen due to man-made greenhouse gases, a report has claimed.

The report, which is believed to be the first of its kind in providing a link between a specific extreme weather event and climate change brought about by man, is the outcome of a study of climate patterns associated with the record flooding in England and Wales occurring during the autumn of 2000.

The findings of the report, published in the journal Nature, revealed that man-made emissions in the last century increased the risk of the floods by more than a fifth.

In the study, the team of scientists created several thousand seasonal-forecast-resolution climate model simulations for the autumn of 2000, both under realistic conditions and under scenarios where greenhouse gas emissions and resulting large-scale warming never occurred.

The report stated: "The precise magnitude of the anthropogenic contribution remains uncertain, but in nine out of 10 cases our model results indicate that 20th-century anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions increased the risk of floods occurring in England and Wales in autumn 2000 by more than 20% and in two out of three cases by more than 90%."

The autumn of 2000 was the wettest since records began in 1766, damaging nearly 10,000 properties, disrupting services and causing an estimated £1.3 billion in insurance losses.

Those living in areas threatened by flood water can face exorbitant home insurance premiums, as insurers find the cost of covering the at-risk houses uneconomic.

© Press Association 2011