Publications by Antje Weisheimer

The role of human influence on climate in recent UK winter floods and their impacts.

Nature Climate Change Nature Publishing Group (2016)

N Schaller, A Weisheimer, AL Kay, NR Massey, GJ van Oldenborgh, FEL Otto, SN Sparrow, R Vautard, P Yiou, I Ashpole, A Bowery, SM Crooks, K Haustein, C Huntingford, WJ Ingram, RG Jones, T Legg, J Miller, J Skeggs, D Wallom, A Weisheimer, S Wilson, PA Stott, MR Allen

A succession of storms reaching southern England in the winter of 2013/2014 caused severe floods and £451 million insured losses. In a large ensemble of climate model simulations, we find that, as well as increasing the amount of moisture the atmosphere can hold, anthropogenic warming caused a small but significant increase in the number of January days with westerly flow, both of which increased extreme precipitation. Hydrological modelling indicates this increased extreme 30-day-average Thames river flows, and slightly increased daily peak flows, consistent with the understanding of the catchment’s sensitivity to longer-duration precipitation and changes in the role of snowmelt. Consequently, flood risk mapping shows a small increase in properties in the Thames catchment potentially at risk of riverine flooding, with a substantial range of uncertainty, demonstrating the importance of explicit modelling of impacts and relatively subtle changes in weather-related risks when quantifying present-day effects of human influence on climate.

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