Chester could be among the worst hit cities in the British Isles for river flooding due to climate change.
That’s according to an academic study by Newcastle University which indicates Europe’s cities face more extreme weather than previously thought.
The research has for the first time analysed changes in flooding, droughts and heatwaves for all European cities using projections from every available climate model.
Worryingly it found Chester, Wrexham, Derry, Carlisle, Glasgow and Aberdeen could be the worst hit locations in the British Isles for river flooding.
Even in the most optimistic scenario, 85% of UK cities with a river – including London – are predicted to face some increased river flooding.
While for the high scenario, half of UK cities could see at least a 50% increase on peak river flows.
A press release states: “The cities predicted to be worst hit under the high impact scenario are Cork, Derry, Waterford, Wrexham, Carlisle and Glasgow and for the more optimistic, low impact, scenario are Derry, Chester, Carlisle, Aberdeen and Glasgow.”
Other key points outlined in the paper entitled ‘Future heat-waves, drought and floods in 571 European cities’ are:
■ A worsening of heatwaves for all 571 cities
■ Increasing drought conditions, particularly in southern Europe
■ An increase in river flooding, especially in north-western European cities
■ For the worst projections, increases in all hazards for most European cities
Looking at the impact by 2050-2100, the team showed results for three possible futures which they called the low, medium and high impact scenarios.
Professor Richard Dawson, coauthor and lead investigator of the study, said: “The implications of the study in terms of how Europe adapts to climate change are far-reaching. The research highlights the urgent need to design and adapt our cities to cope with these future conditions.
“We are already seeing at first hand the implications of extreme weather events in our capital cities. In Paris the Seine rose more than 4 metres above its normal water level. And as Cape Town prepares for its taps to run dry, this analysis highlights that such climate events are feasible in European cities too.”
Of the European capitals, Dublin, Helsinki, Riga, Vilnius and Zagreb are likely to experience the most extreme rise in flooding. For the high impact scenario, several European cities could see more than 80% increases on peak river flows, including Santiago de Compostela in Spain, Cork and Waterford in Ireland, Braga and Barcelos in Portugal and Derry/ Londonderry in the UK.
Stockholm and Rome could see the greatest increase in number of heat-wave days while Prague and Vienna could see the greatest increase in maximum temperatures during heat-waves.
Lisbon and Madrid are in the top capital cities for increases in frequency and magnitude of droughts, while Athens, Nicosia, Valleta and Sofia might experience the worst increases in both drought and heatwaves.